Object History: Soap

soap noun / səʊp / 1. a substance used with water for washing and cleaning, made of a compound of natural oils or fats with sodium hydroxide or another strong alkali, and typically having perfume and colouring added.

One would hope the history of wanting to stay clean is a long one and indeed soap does seem to have been used by civilisations as old as the Babylonians, who mixed together animal fat and ash to create a soap like substance. With the emergence and popularity of the Roman bath, soapmaking became more prominent, from local Roman makers to Gaulish and Germanic creations (Greek physician Galen is said to have thought Germanic soap was the best kind!).

Soap making techniques were quite exclusive relying on oils, fats and exotic fragrances imported from Africa and Asia, until advances in science meant the process became less expensive and more readily available to the common man. Today one can even make soap in their own home, infusing it with favoured petals, herbs and essential oils to evoke a favourite smell or conjure up a memory.

When I travel I come home with a colour palette and scent for each place I visit. Through my books I translate the colours and styling arrangements from my travel inspirations, but have never been able to communicate one of the most important senses, smell. That lead me to create my own series of vegetable-based soaps each inspired by the various places I have visited in my books Gypsy & Nomad, with each scent designed to capture a little of the sights and surrounds.

Shop the Gypsy soap range featuring Scotland, Galapagos, Turkey, Indochine and Transylvania.

FILED 15, Sep 2016

  • SYDNEY SHOP & STUDIO 3.02 75 Mary Street St Peters NSW 2044
  • MONDAY - FRIDAY 10AM-4pm OR BY APPOINTMENT
  • 02 9516 5643
  • SYDNEY SHOP & STUDIO 3.02 75 Mary Street St Peters NSW 2044
  • 02 9516 5643
  • MONDAY - FRIDAY 10AM-4pm OR BY APPOINTMENT