The Maak Soap Tour July 03 2013
Here is their story told by Megan with photographs by Brooke:
"At Por que no, I drank a horchata with rum, Kelsie had a classic margarita, and Brooke had a jamaica margarita. Brooke said "Food is one of my favorite things to photograph!" We ate too much... a mess of tacos, salads with pumpkin seeds and beans, while old doo wop tunes were playing and a little black and white dog whined outside. It was perfect summer weather, breezy and in the 80s.
Maak is pronounced 'make,' and means 'create' in Dutch. We spent the afternoon making a bar of soap with Anoria Gilbert, who moved to Portland in 2009 with Taylor Ahlmark from Arizona and started Maak Soap. The couple learned to make soap through a lot of experimentation. "We had a lot of dirty friends that let us test on them!" says Anoria. Their soaps are now carried in many stores throughout the west coast as well as England, and will soon be found in New York and Japan too! Anoria says they market particularly toward men and the essential oils they use are less floral than a lot of soaps.
Our first step is making cold-processed soap was to choose our fragrances. After sniffing various bottles from a shelf, we decided on lavender, fir needle, and peppermint for our bar of soap. Next we looked on as Anoria heated up water and lye, a natural powder made from wood ash necessary for the chemical reaction resulting in soap. In another container, she combined and heated a mixture of coconut and olive oils, necessary to keep the lye from burning the skin. When the two mixtures reached the same temperature, 110 degrees, we mixed them together until they reached trace, or the consistency of cake batter. Then we added the fragrant essential oils and botanicals and poured the batter into a rectangular mold.
Then the curing process began, which takes about a month. The waiting period is essential so the soap can harden, and so the chemical processes can finish and prevent the user from being burned by lye!
Anoria was kind enough to give us some funky soap end cuts to tide us over until our bar is finished.
Thanks to Anoria, Maak Soap, and everyone at Beam & Anchor!"