the maker monthly

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We meet many curious makers, who've worked hard to establish their successful and innovative practices here in Hobart. We know and love their work at the maker, but what goes on behind studio doors before the fruit of their efforts arrives in store? We chat with Vika, master soapmaker from Greenwash, to find out...

What was the best feedback you had from a customer this past year?

We got a photo of our signature Greenwash soap (a massive 300g block with the bold stamp 'piece of FKN soap' on its side) after it had been used by a couple travelling across South America. For over five months this piece of soap was washing their butts, doing laundry, and was never kicked off carry-on during airport check-in (unlike his liquid form counterparts). The photo showed a tiny piece of soap on the side of a bright blue vanity somewhere in Central America and it made me feel like, wow, I have never been there but my soap's made the trip and made these guys so happy and grateful- they said thank you for making their life so much easier on their travels!

What's your favourite thing to listen to while you're working?
My choice is anything that works as a white noise, I guess. Classical, usually Bach or Tchaikovsky, and classy jazz.  A lot of the time I need extra focus when I actually make soap and need to be sure I don't forget anything- then it's just silence. I actually enjoy silence a lot... I know you would never guess that when you get to know me but it's true.

Is there a work of art you'd love everyone to experience?
Russian classical literature like Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky, but in Russian. The translation into English is a mediocrity to say the least, it sounds like a Reader's Digest adaptation to me. It's a miracle how a lot of you swear that it's the best thing they ever read even after experiencing it only in English-  imagine my level of ecstasy after the original!

Tell us about a habit that serves you well...
Make your bed every morning. No matter how bad your day might turn out to be, by the end of it you will come to one little area of your life that's not a total mess. Call it a control freak's pleasure-in-gaining-false-control but it reassures me that tomorrow I can start all over after today's 'disasters'.

To re-gift or not to re-gift?
Totally yes.

What's something people would be surprised to learn about making soap?
That it has a mind of its own. The essences used for fragrance effect the behaviour of soap batter big time, which effectively restricts the designs you can create. To simplify complexity in two words: fragrance determines the temperature of the soap, and temperature effects the stability of the soap's colour and texture...

Is there something you're longing to make?
Good fragrances and perfumes.

What would you do with three extra hours?
Read and learn about perfumery.

Favourite typeface?
I don't have a favourite but dislike with an everlasting passion every typeface mimicking handwriting.

New year finds you resolved to ... ?
Keep learning how to stay present. Quite often we don't see the great just in front of us. Only after it's gone and gained a status of memory, we realise damn, it was so good- I wish I enjoyed it more while I still had it!


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