Are you ready? You can smell and feel what happens in this studio. Come on in and find out what magic Amy does.
I live in southern Wisconsin, in Monroe. It’s a small town of Swiss heritage, known for its historic brewery and its long tradition of cheese making.
My interest in bath and body products began in high school when I discovered the intriguing world of herbs. I enjoyed using them to formulate my own bath products like balms, herbal baths and facial steams. My mother and I first began making soap together about 12 years ago when faced with an overabundance of milk from our goats. After many years away from the craft, I returned to soap making about three years ago and started my own business, Tenth Avenue Soapworks.How did your Studio get its name?
My name is pretty straightforward. I live on Tenth Avenue, which is also my studio, and I love to make soap…and the whole works!
Soap is made of two basic ingredients—oils and liquids. In order for these ingredients to become soap, sodium hydroxide, or lye, must be added. However, none of the lye remains after the chemical reaction that turns the mixture into soap. My soaps do not contain any of the detergents found in many commercial soaps.
Part of the fun of soaping is learning the characteristics of each of the oils and liquids, and formulating them to create unique soaps. I use a variety of oils, including tallow, olive, almond, and shea butter. Besides goat’s milk, I may use beer as my liquid (a favorite!), or coconut milk, homemade yogurt, buttermilk, and cucumber puree, to name a few. I prefer to use locally produced ingredients when I can and have lately begun to grow some of my own herbs.
When did you discover your creative side?
I think I’ve known most of my life that I was creative. I’ve always had a good imagination, which is a large part of creativity. As a girl, my favorite gifts were craft supplies and I regularly checked out craft books from the library. Some of my other favorite creative outlets include sewing and cake decorating and I’m able to incorporate both of those skills in crafting my bath and body products.
Really, I find inspiration for my soaps everywhere! Gardens, paint samples, nature, and even food give me a spark of an idea that I incorporate into my soaps. I enjoy looking at other soapers’ creations, too. Sometimes I’ll see an element that I may want to use in some way in a future batch. I try to keep things different and not to settle into one typical Tenth Avenue “look.”
I love to experiment, so even when I am pleased with how a lotion or a lip balm has turned out, it’s hard not to tweak my recipe just a bit to make it even better. When a customer tells me that my soap is the best or that my lotion bars are a favorite product, it motivates me to continue my work. Customers who come to me with specific needs also spur me on—I enjoy the challenge of meeting their requests.
Those look just so yummy!
And this is where you can find Amy and her wonderful work:
My facebook- http://www.facebook.com/tenthavenuesoapworks