Ye Olde Crafting Corner > Crafts and Projects

Soap Wench-ing


Tami MacLeod:
Doing 4 batches of soaps today and tomorrow...

One batch of wench soap, one batch of faire maiden soap, one batch of honeysuckle and the last lavender /lilic

yummy scents filling my home

What kind of base do you use for your soap?

Tami MacLeod:
I make 3 different kinds of bases..

1...Cold Process Soap
fatty acids and sodium hydroxide ( Veg)

2..Melt and Pour Soap
Glycerin/EO/FO and i will add maybe herbs, shay, buds, things like that as well

3..Hot Process Soap Making

Hot process soap is an interesting take on the cold process method. The simple explanation is that you take all your ingredients, and add them to a pot (that is then placed over a heat source, such as a stove) and stir frequently until the soap goes through various stages. The excess water is evaporated off and the soap is ready to use once cooled.

and i also do rebatching too.

Rebatching is another form of cold process soapmaking. You make your cold process soap from scratch, grate it up, place it over a heat source, in a kettle, with a little liquid (water works very well), and the mixture melts down into a mushy mess that you add colorant and fragrance too. This method is often used to preserve the scent or the healing properties of some essential oils.

RENAISSANCE (approx. 1450 A.D. – 1700 A.D. approx. 200 years)
The Renaissance - the period between about 1450 and 1700 -
was a time of renewed flourishing of the arts and the intellect in
Europe. In the beginning of this period, though, hygiene
remained firmly in the Dark Ages. People continued to fear
water, believing that it would dilate the skin’s pores and expose
the organs to the dreaded plague. But as the Renaissance
progressed, the nobility’s desire to maintain its appearance as a
higher breed brought more emphasis to personal hygiene.
Fashion, and changing into clean clothes frequently, represented
symbols of status to the wealthy. Science also advanced, and doctors began to understand that lack of
hygiene was a factor in the spread of contagious diseases, and some doctors even advocated a regular
bath! Cleanliness campaigns and a more widespread use of soap resulted. During the Renaissance, soap
became more refined, and doing the laundry remained a highly ritualized, time-consuming process.
Although water closets had been invented, this marvel of plumbing would not become a fixture in most
homes until much later, around the middle of the 19th century, for lack of adequate water supply and
sewer systems.
Soap making became more specialized. In the 15th and 16th centuries in France, soap was made on a
small scale from goat tallow and beech ash, but in the 17th century, soap factories were established. The
first one, built by royal edict in Toulon, was an immediate success. More factories were built in Marseilles.
By the end of the century, Marseilles had to import raw materials from all over the Mediterranean to keep
up with demand, and the French perfected the soap manufacturing process, now using vegetable oils
rather than animal fat.
All along, soap was used for laundry. Towards the end of the Renaissance, soap came back into favor for
bathing, and people began to use soap for shaving and shampooing.
Throughout much of the Renaissance, people believed that water penetrated the skin and spread disease.
Indeed, King Louis XIII had what was only his second bath at the age of 7, and Louis XIV took baths only
when it was prescribed as a medical treatment. It was thought that a layer of dirt protected the body, so
people cleaned themselves by rubbing exposed parts of the body with a dry, sometimes perfumed, cloth.
To show that they were “clean,” the nobility wore white linen shirts, and changed them daily. In 1626,
Savot, a French etiquette writer, wrote, “We can more easily do without [baths] than the ancients, because
of our use of linen.”
In the mid-17th century, clothing got a dusting of scented powder to make is smell fresh longer, and after
this nobles no longer felt the need to change clothing so often.
This lack of hygiene started to change toward the end of the Renaissance. Body odors became less
tolerated, and cleanliness became more important. Communal bathing in bath houses became popular
once again (as it once was in Rome) and was often accompanied by music and eating. But because nudity
was taboo, people wore clothes while bathing.
As a courtesy, people offered a bath to their guests, and by the 15th century, this was an established part
of the code of hospitality. Handwashing before and after eating is often mentioned in literature from this
period, and basins appear regularly in illustrations. During the 14th and 15th centuries, washing one’s
hands became an elaborate ceremony at banquets, complete with a servant called the Laverer, who
brought water and towels to guests before a feast began.
Outside Europe, regular bathing was the custom. In India, the institution of Gushalkhana (a bathroom) was
established by the Mughal Kings in 1556. Oppressed by the heat and dust, the Kings constructed luxurious
bathing and massage facilities, but these were accessible only to the rich. Indian handbooks from the 17th
century describe bathing rituals that took place in bathing ghats, public baths on a riverbank.
There were a large number of laundries in cities because of the importance of keeping linen white, but
women also did laundry at home and it continued to be backbreaking labor. Clothes had to be soaked,
boiled and beaten, then rinsed and wrung out by hand, and dried in the fresh air. Washboards and sticks
made doing the laundry a little easier, but it was still a very time-consuming task. Leftover soapy water was
given to the poor, because soap was still too expensive for most people.
In addition to the regular laundry, a “Grand Wash” took place twice a year. It was a symbolic ritual, lasting
three days. Some sources say that that it represented Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. The “Grand Wash”
was a symbol of purification, the triumph of clean over unclean.
Communal laundry rituals also existed in Asia and North and South America.
Throughout the Renaissance, little progress was made in terms of bringing the water to the people. Water
could only be moved around by mechanical means. The homes of the wealthy and certain centers of
culture, such as monasteries, had water piped in, but the poor still had to hand-carry their water home
from wells and rivers.
In 1698 –99, the steam engine was invented by Thomas Savery and Thomas Newcomen. It would later be
perfected by James Watt and Benjamin Franklin. This invention would lay the groundwork for the water
distribution networks of the future.
Chamber pots continued to be used throughout the period, but now small rooms or closets were
dedicated to the purpose of using these chamber pots in private, hence the terminology “water closet”
and “privy.” The contents of the pots had to be hauled away manually. In 1596, Sir John Harrington,
godson to Queen Elizabeth, installed water closets for the queen and himself. However, he was ridiculed
by his peers for this device, and never built another one.
Pollution continued to be a problem, due to the increasing population in cities. Waste water from
household uses and laundries, as well as human waste, continued to be discharged into rivers and streams
without any type of treatment.
Clothing during the Renaissance was very important to the aristocracy, because it demonstrated one’s
cleanliness and wealth. Girls wore many layers of clothing: a chemise, stockings, a leather corset, a bodice,
and petticoats, topped by a gown. Both girls and women covered their hair with a scarf or hat. Boys
dressed like their fathers, with shirts and a fitted jacket, hose and breeches. Clothes were made out of
wool, cotton, raw silk, linen, flax, leather or linen. Colored fabrics were rare and for the most part only the
rich could afford them; purples and reds were very difficult to obtain and reserved for royalty exclusively.
Bramsky, S. & Reynolds, S. (1995). Leonardo: The Artist and The Man. Penguin Publishers, USA.
De Bonneville, Francoise (1998). The Book of the Bath. Rizzoli Publ.
Learn all about the history of plumbing
Stalmans, M. & Guhl, W. (2003). An Introduction to the Historical Developments of Laundry. Household and Personal Care Today, pp.
17-22. (link to full text of the article)1....


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