Donna Sue Robson specialises in the communication- and healing-arts. Jamie Natural Health and Healing is her energy-healing consultancy. Her modalities, workshops and boutique natural products can be viewed and purchased from www.jamienatural.com.
Published November 20th 2020
The Bali Bubble: Make your own Soap in Bali
Many Balinese do not have the luxury of soap that we take for granted in the West. Consider giving a local one of the bars you have made and help our closest neighbour equip for the COVID world.
As soon as international borders re-open, Australians will no doubt head back to the nearby island paradise of Bali. If Bali is calling you, soap-making workshops in Denpasar not only inspires the alchemical mind but will also equip you for COVID-safe travel. It is hard to find natural, solid soap bars in Bali: after this ½ day intensive you will be well-equipped with hand-made, easily transportable soap bars. Consider too, the cost-effectiveness: the cost of the soap-bar making workshop is $80 and you leave with 10 bars of 100gram soap and a mould template. Your investment is returned in product alone.
Format of the workshop
There are 2 types of soap-making workshops offered by Bali Soap Class: a ½ day instruction in soap bar creation, and there is another ½ day needed to learn the art and craft of creating liquid soap. You can combine workshops to make it one full day, or you can opt for 2 half-days on different days, or simply do the workshop that most appeals. Bali Soap Class are easy to access by email and Facebook making it super simple to pre-book and pay from your home-base.
Ledu helps you to understand and appreciate the soap-making process
The half-day bar soap making workshop caters from one person to 6 people, so whatever the group size, you are guaranteed personalised attention. Social distancing is easy to maintain and safety standards come with the territory. If you do end up doing it solo (the price does not increase) learning is very intense, so do not be shy in asking for a break. Ledu is a gracious host, providing a sweet snack and drink if you find your concentration waning. It is advisable to take your own bottled water.
The intensity lies in the theory and mathematics. Ledu is a technician who loves detail. This makes him a great teacher as soap-making is an exact and unforgiving chemical process. Ledu has meticulously prepared program notes and makes sure that you understand ratio and the chemical reactions that govern your selection of oils. He needs to meticulous for the simple reason that guesswork or sloppy technique will compromise results. He guides you to formulate a basic recipe which you can later change when you understand the part of soap-making that is variable and which extends creativity. Ledu is happy to check formulas and recipes if you feel that you need assistance when you embark on soap-making at home.
Even though I was the only one registered to do the course, Bali Soap Class ran the day anyway: this is typical of Balinese service and hospitality.
The soap bar workshop is broken down into 2 main sessions, with a light epilogue. First, there is the theory- and that means a lot of theory. Theory about the nature of oils, soap-making processes, chemical reactions, mathematics and considerations behind scent creation. If you expect to launch straight into the actual craft of soap making- then think again- half of this workshop is theory. That means when you return home you know what you are doing and have the confidence to be creative.
The second half of the workshop is the actual soap-making which again, because of the exact nature of chemical alchemy and safety concerns, is detailed and dogmatic. You are in safe hands with Ledu. The amount of soap you make may differ in larger groups or if some group members are slower, but generally, each person makes two batches, which is about 10 bars of 100gram soap bars. You walk out with both batches cut to size and ready for drying.
The drying process (the time it takes before the soap is ready to use) is about 4 weeks, although this is subject to climatic conditions. If you are travelling, you may be able to leave some of your soap at Bali Soap Class while it dries and pick it upon return.
The epilogue is a light, vigorous discussion about creative options, drying, storage and presentation.
Resources and Getting Started
All equipment is provided, including safety goggles, aprons, moulds and soap-preparation equipment. You are given one of the moulds to take with you which is a truly great prize. If you plan to make soap at home, consider making a few more moulds to Ledu's superb design template.
The selection of essential oils at Bali Soap Making is limited and tropical-authentic. Bali Soap Class's essential oils are those that are suitable for soap-making to ensure student success. Essential oils are locally sourced, so your bars will evoke the full, rich Balinese aromatic experience. While in Bali, stock up on local essential oils - they are about a tenth of the price of Australian supplies and sales will support local growers hit hard by the pandemic-led reduction in the tourist trade.
Bali soap-making operates from a private home base in Denpasar. Even those familiar with the city may find this location tricky so keep it simple – jump in a taxi or grab an Uber and get there fuss-free with those who know the city. No experience is necessary for this course, but those who have an eye for detail, a love of mathematics, and passion for aromatics and baking will be particularly delighted.