Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Moo Crew Feature

This week we're featuring La Bella Donna Della Mia Mente Soapworks.
Here you will find a great selection of imaginative soaps
with selections perfect for Halloween!

1) Tell us about your work and what drew you to it!

My skin got tired of all the constant moisturizing it takes to stay hydrated during a Wisconsin winter, so I started buying handmade soap. When I realized how easy it was to make, I decided to cut out the middle man. That was about six years ago.

I love, love, love M&P soap. I am positively besotted with glycerin and goats milk. The moisture is unparalleled and I am absolutely enchanted with all the different color combinations/hues you can get with clear and opaque soap. I have a weird kind of outlook on life and I like to see it reflected in my soaping. My family calls it "lovably weird".

Dem Bones Soap Collection
One of my favorite soaps from the Monsters & Madmen collection. The each smell like tropical fruits: pomegranate, peach, and mango. I even have one in chocolate sugar!

2) What is most enjoyable about your work?

I'm an English grad student, so it's really calming to get out of my head and work with my hands doing something creative. It's almost zen, like exercising the other half of my brain.

3) What is you biggest challenge?

Trying to evoke a feeling in soap that comes from a complicated book or character. I hate being literal - where's the imagination? I'd much rather give the impression of the white, brown and yellows of a banana in a bar rather than making a banana shape in a mold (Son of Kong). It's very expressionistic.

Also, I'm a firm believer in easy to hold, sustainable shapes. Who wants to spend $5 on a bar of soap only to have the pretty design turn to mush after a few uses? No thanks. All of my soaps retain their beauty even when they're the time, tiny slivers of soap that fall through the drain.

Son of Kong
The most perfect banana taffy flavor - food of the gods - for giant primates living on
Skull Island, at least. Just don't call him a monkey.

4) How are you inspired?

I spend a lot of time and my studies and everything seems to stem from there. My research interests are Gothic Literature and the horror film, so that pops up in my work a lot - if you haven't already noticed!

My shop name comes from one of my favorite Oscar Wilde poems. It translates to "the beautiful lady of my memory". My goal is to make each of my customers feel like:

She is too fair for any man
To see or hold his heart's delight,
Fairer than Queen or courtesan
Or moonlit water in the night.

5) Apart from creating, what do you enjoy?

Researching. Reading. (Yes, I'm a dork) Watching TV and movies to unwind. Hanging out with my awesome husband. Playing with my cats, Bruce and Josh.

6) What is something you've always wanted to try, but haven't yet?

I have made cold processed soap in the past, but I'd like to buckle down and make one of those gorgeously swirled pieces of art with the lovely decorated tops. That would be awesome.

7) What is you most cherished handmade item?

I used to carry around a lot of books as a kid - even before I could read - so my grandmother sewed me a book bag. It's a lovely jungle pattern with lots of wild animals. Unfortunately, it's been through a series of mishaps or I'd still be using it.

8) Is there any rule you can't help but break?

I refuse to make soap that contains a single scent. They're always mixtures. Adding a bit of vanilla or sandalwood or brown sugar can really make the main fragrance pop.

Bohemian Nightmare
The drink of artists, madmen, and seekers of transcendental oblivion, the Green Fairy's poetry intoxicates all who receive her glowing embrace: Anice, Wormwood, and burnt sugar.

9) What could you never live without?

The basic building blocks of life: husband, family, friends, cats, books, fajitas, The Beatles, Diet Coke, bubble baths, etc.

10) Tell us you top five!

Music: The Beatles, Tom Waits, Jill Tracy, Billy Joel, Dresden Dolls

Books: The entire Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, Jane Eyre, The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter, Second Nature by Alice Hoffman, anything by Oscar Wilde or Shakespeare.

Movies: Much Ado About Nothing, Psycho, The Phantom of the Opera, La Belle et la Bette, Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie

Websites: Jezebel, Facebook, I can has cheezburger, Della Mia Mente, My Twitter

11) Besides Etsy, where can your work be found?

In my apartment! I've done a horror convention (lots of fun!) and I'm thinking of getting my soaps into some Milwaukee shops and selling at Seven Mile Fair. But school is taking precedence right now.

12) Do you have any current or ongoing specials?

Because my fellow WI Etstians are so talented and friendly (I can't count the number of times you guys get treasury and front page spots), I will enact a standing discount of 10% for always and forever for out group. Use code "WI Etsy Rocks!" in the message to seller.

13) Do you have any upcoming shows?

None planned, but that might change. : )

To celebrate Halloween and being featured,
La Bella Donna is having a giveaway!
Simply visit La Bella Donna and leave a comment here about what you like best.
The lucky winner will be chosen randomly next Wednesday.
Good luck everyone and
Happy Halloween from La Bella Donna and Team WIST!


Mary said...

Ooh, the Great Pumpkin looks right up my alley!

Lisa F. said...

Besides listing fajitas as a building block of life and loving Oscar Wilde, which already makes her cool, Amanda makes some really fun soaps. I never mistake monkeys and apes, I love Son of Kong!

Amanda said...

Word to you, sister!

Heather said...

I love the descriptions for all of your products! I can see that you are using your English major skills. (^_^)

Valerie said...

I think the Great Pumpkin would be awesome for this time of year in the guest bathroom (who doesn't love the smell of pumpkin muffins?!) But I really want to try the Nick Bottom Glycerin with the goats milk. I hope it is still around for Christmas when I am shopping for stocking stuffers so I can stuff one in my own stocking!

Nikki said...

I just received my first piece of soap and I am amazed as to how beautiful it both looks and smells! I almost don't want to use it because it's too beautiful!