Thursday, March 12, 2009

Meet Etsy Soap Maker & Artist: DirtyAssSoaps

This sushi looks good enough to eat, but it's actually soap...
Hip 29 year old artist Alison Kowalsky is a New York native, who recently transplanted to Boston. She fell in love with soap making at 18 when her friend Amber got her a kit as a gift. "It included some glycerin melt & pour soap, soap fragrances, colors, and molds," she explains. "She invited me to make some soaps with her and I was immediately hooked!" Soon, she was making soap with her Mom and her passion grew from there as she experimented and learned the ropes of her craft. She no longer purchases the supplies from a craft store. Instead, she focuses on organic handmade materials - and an amazing sense of humor and fun - to create her whimsical designs, which often look like junk food or toys. "When I want to make soap, I usually start out in a restaurant or grocery store," she says of her creative process. "I look at food and how it's displayed. Even if it's someone else's food, I will probably stare at it and make some mental notes." She brainstorms with her boyfriend, too. "The best thing we've done for the business is to cover the dining room table with trace paper. We draw, doodle, sketch and write notes, jot numbers and math equations. After trying different ways to solve the problem of making the soap at hand, we pick the best one. We make it, photograph it, and put it online." She started with prefab molds, but progressed to making a lot of her own. "Trial and error is my friend," she jokes, "and if I didn't make the mistakes, I don't think I would have gotten as far as I have." All of her soaps are vegan - free of animal fats, milks, honeys, and insect dyes - even the fried bacon design. She started her Etsy shop two years, unsure whether they would be a big hit on-line since a big draw to her soaps is the scent. Eventually she listed her Cupcake and Cheeseburger soaps - and the rest is history. "There's a lot of Etsy love going on, and I love doing trades with people for awesome stuff," she admits. Please check out her shop: and website:

-Wendy Baylis
Dharma Designs

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