As I mentioned before the days that I spent in Abiquiu were a gift to me! My purpose in going there was to teach some of the brothers Soap and Lotion making so that they could add these crafts to items available in their gift shop and augment their self supporting efforts. Rosy Verdile heads up their craft efforts. Unfortunantly she had badly broken her leg just prior to my visit but was none the less able to participate in the classes which got underway on Wednesday May 6th. Since I only had a couple weeks of notice prior to leaving for Abiquiu I very quickly assembled the raw materials that would be needed. Several vendors that I know from my association with the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild very generously donated materials: Lebermuth, Certified-Lye, Pumpking, and 5B&Co. Thanks to all of your for your generosity.
After some initial time of instruction I led them through the production of their first batch of Cold Process Soapmaking. Even though my preferred method is Hot Process Soapmaking I believe that they needed to know both processes. We dutifully wrapped our finished soap mold in several woolen blankets and managed to only peak once to see if indeed the gel stage of soapmaking was underway! Yes!! I never had done ’soap swirling’ so I thought now was as good a time as any to give it a whirl. I am looking forward to seeing the fruit of our labors.
Lotion making was an instant hit. We worked steadily for three days and ended up with numerous batches of soap and 3 batches of Soap. I hear that since I left they have continued production and are well on their way to a successful venture.
On the left is Bro. Dominic pouring his lotion. On the right you will see the Abiquiu Students and myself. This was the first time I had ever undertaken such an adventure and it made me grateful for all who have mentored me as well as for my Community who has supported and cheered me on along the way. The Benedictine moto is “Ora et Labora” which translated means prayer and work. In our lifestyle there is such a wonderful opportunity for the blending of the two.
As we move into the days of summer I wish you a most blest summer season. Up next will be my sharing of the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild meeting. Stay tuned!