The Wabi-Sabi of Soapmaking: Embracing the Art of Imperfection

In soapmaking, rebatching is the process of taking a previously made (usually irregular) batch of soap, melting it down in liquid, adding additional scent or color, and spooning it into a fresh mold. It is a beautiful process, because it takes what was once undesirable in some form, and turns it into a whole new product. As a soapmaker, I have made enough mistakes to know the value of rebatching. I have learned the process and it has given me solace. Although I aim for perfection, I know that in the face of failure there is still hope. I don’t have to discard flawed soap, I can rebatch it.

This simple idea is actually life altering. It gives me the confidence to jump into something that might initially seem intimidating. It also teaches me to find the beauty in the imperfection. Still, in the process of soapmaking, I find it reaches further than that. Handmade cold process soap is raw and beautiful. For me, the roughness of the edges is a celebration of non-conformity in a paint-by-numbers world. This traditional process puts me in touch with the simplicity of our existence long before modern conveniences. It gives me something solid and practical to explore. It helps me to embrace the art of imperfection that we often try to polish over.

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