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What does “Artisan” mean to you?

The term “Artisan” will possibly mean different things to different people. For me, I conjure up thoughts of a craftsman with well worn hands, think a jeweller or shoemaker and associate the word with something of high quality and low in volume production.  Perhaps even a family tradition, handed down over generations….

The dictionary explanation is as follows.

noun: artisan; plural noun: artisans
a worker in a skilled trade, especially one that involves making things by hand.


Traditionally an artisan is a craftsman (or woman) of skill, one who manufactures functional and decorated tangible goods – but now it seems, it is used to qualify something as “quality.”  I have heard that Dominos Pizza are using the term “artisan” in their marketing these days. I guess they are technically handmade but Artisan? Hmm, jury is out on that one with me I’m afraid.

artisan blog picTo me, being Artisan implies a profound understanding of the craft of making the goods, in my case soap and skin care. This understanding is coupled with an understanding and deep love (yes, love!) for the craft and for those who will use my creations. This love and respect is obvious at every step: selection of the finest quality ingredients, care taken during the soap/skin care making process and the ultimate joy in presenting it to others to use in their everyday lives.

Traditionally, if you were an Artisan and owned your own business, you were referred to as a Master. I like to think of myself as journey woman within the Artisan tradition. There is always more to learn, frequently I come across Artisans working in their field who open my eyes to the love they have of their craft.

In the past an Artisan was a term originally applied to those people that created something of value for the community, who through dedication would reach the expressive form of art in their craft. In the big wide world out there you will find a plethora of mass produced skincare products available claiming this and that eg; natural, artisan, organic, green but as these terms are not regulated in Australia they are plastered left, right and centre on labels not giving the consumer a true representation of what is really in the bottle and what they are about to purchase.  It really comes down to being a savvy consumer and looking past the hype and reading the labels and understanding ingredients.  Amongst all the buzz words and marketing the magic of truly natural ingredients has been largely taken over by the band aid solution that is synthetic ingredients, fillers, preservatives etc these sorts of ingredients are used for many reasons, one is because they extensively extend the shelf life (unnaturally I might add) of a product.  Have you every stopped to notice that some creams and lotions never seem to “go off”? and yet, they say they are natural and organic.  Hmmmm that’s a discussion for another blog I feel.

Nov 6, 2012-SX40 066
A batch of soap coming to “trace”.

So, do I consider myself an artisan?  I think my ancestors were the true artisans in the sense of the word. Soap making these days has evolved.  Once upon a time soap was hand stirred from start to finish, it would have taken a LONG time to make back then.

Today we don’t rely on the sacrificing of animals for their fats to make soap either as was the case many a moon ago….that said, I am sure this tradition is still carried out in some parts of the world.  While I respect traditions of old I gladly bypass that part of the traditional soap making process. I am just a soapy gal keeping the cold process soap making tradition alive (using vegetable oils – no palm oil of course!) and staying true to myself endeavouring to share the green, natural, chemical free way of life.

Thanks for reading, until next time,

Michelle x