One of the things I love about soapmaking is that I get to play with all kinds of ideas and designs. I also have a soft spot for embossed soap; there’s just something about the commitment and irrevocability of making a mark on the perfectly smooth, glossy, hard yet yielding surface of a bar of soap. Embossing can be used for branding or decorative purposes and is often a combination of the two – always adding some form of extra meaning to the bar.
I regularly use a number of embossing techniques and I’ve made lots of soap stamps – for special projects as well as for continuous use. So, when I discovered a way to emboss soap with soap stamps made by Nature herself I thought that was pretty cool!
The imprints made on these bars of Green Eucalyptus Soap were all made with seed pods from Eucalyptus gomophocephala, a tree species originally from Western Australia which now feels quite at home here in the Western Cape of South Africa. The tree that produced these particular seed pods grows next to the vineyard where I take my dogs for daily walks.
From January to March the tree produces white blossoms which the local bee population rates highly. The buds look spectacular just before the blossoms open; bright orange caps revealing white stamens on green hypanthiums.
In most cases the Eucalyptus gomophocephala seed pods have four excerted valves giving a cross shape. Sometimes the valves are only three in which case you get a shape that looks like a Mercedes Benz logo.. This time I decided to use a pod with five valves giving a star or flower shape. The pink flowers in the picture below are Corymbia ficifolia or ‘Red flowering gum’, a close cousin to the eucalypts and another Australian import that thrives here, close to the Cape of Good Hope.