‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Savon de Marseille

Big blocks of olive oil soap have been crafted since the Middle Ages in the South of France. In 1688 it became law that only soaps made according to strict, ancient methods could be labeled "Savon de Marseille."

It takes the Maitre de Savon two seeks to make Marseille Soap. The delicate mixture of olive and vegetable oils, alkaline ash from sea plants and Mediterranean Sea salted water are heated for ten days in antique cauldrons, then poured into open pits where it hardens. Cut into cubes and stamped, the soaps are then set out to dry in the sun and mistral winds.
I love the look and feel of things like this, especially when there are ancient cauldrons involved. Also, I am now one degree of separation from the Mediterranean sun and mistral winds.

Beatrice Wood, who was one groovy woman, said: “The handmade object has a vitality of its own that no mass produced thing can duplicate.” My new soap has many of the same qualities my favorite bowls have - bowls I use every day, which assuredly have vitality of their own.

I can hardly wait to use my soap, but can't stand changing the way it looks right now. Photographs will have to suffice because it's time for my shower.


rain said...

I want the soap and the bowls!

Merry merry!

Susan said...

Rain - Oh yes indeed you do! The soap is 70% olive oil and feels divine. Bowls are by made by Sam Taylor and make even my cooking look good. Sometimes my cooking resembles soap.