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by Fiona McBryde May 15, 2021

Ooh look what’s back! Our super popular and super cute travel soap and dish gift sets have made a welcome return to the Soap Folk dresser. Once again, it’s been lovely to work with Sophie of Starling Pots, who makes the mini ceramic dishes to compliment our gift sets. Here Sophie gives us a behind-the-scenes look at how she made our glazed soap dishes.

The beauty of handmade ceramics

Sophie pictured outside the Soap Folk Studio
Sophie makes her dishes at the Clay Loft, an open access ceramic studio based just outside Nailsworth (and next door to Soap Folk) The Clay Loft is run by the potter, Tom Knowles Jackson who makes our bigger stoneware soap dishes

 

In contrast to Tom’s dishes, which are hand thrown on the wheel, Sophie hand shapes her soap dishes.This technique is well suited to smaller scale items, and gives each piece a unique tactile quality.

 

From the Clay Loft, Sophie creates pretty but highly usable ceramics from serving platters to candle stick holders, drawing from her interest of form and texture.

 

One Small Soap Dish, So Many Steps

There’s a surprising number of processes involved in making. From prepping the clay to make sure it's pliable, to forming the dish, a first bisque fire, applying the glaze and then finally a second fire. Each stage presents its own set of challenges. Sophie and I call this the “botheration” factor, when things don’t quite go to plan. All part of the experience of being a maker!

 

Small batch is where it's at

Sophie applying the glaze in the Clay Loft Studio
The beauty of small batch making is that each dish is truly individual, an antidote to mass manufacturing.  Sophie’s dishes are not perfectly round, or consistently identical and this makes them all the more attractive and special.

 

For this latest batch, Sophie has introduced a new duck egg blue glaze this year to sit alongside the original tin white. Once again, small batch compared to mass production allows a much greater freedom of glazes and experimentation. For our dishes, Sophie wipes the glazes from the rim to expose a little more of the unglazed clay, a process she calls "toast" It's one of those little details which make handmade items really stand out. 

 

Appearing in a handmade gift set near you soon!

We're so delighted with our mini soap dishes which work perfectly with both our travel size soaps and the half size soaps which appear in our All Kinds offcuts selection.

 

These beautiful mini dishes have been paired with our popular travel soap gift set, but some of our All Kinds subscribers will find them popping up in their monthly boxes.

 

We are brewing a couple more ideas and who knows maybe even a new glaze? If you don't already, do sign up to the newsletter to be the first to hear of our plans.
Fiona McBryde
Fiona McBryde

Founder. Soap maker. Never finishes a cup of tea.


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