The following is an article written about my soap-making classes by a reporter from NDYP!
“Explosions and meltdowns—these were parts of the experimentation process of creating handmilled soap. Once, it was made with beef tallow, ashes and lye. Today, we can buy it from the store.
However, if you’ve ever wanted to learn how to make soap, you should talk to Linae Bieber, of Bismarck.
It all started when Bieber had an excess of chamomile she didn’t know what to do with in her garden. Instead of throwing it away, she figured out how to make soap by reading books on the subject. In the beginning, she had a fair amount of trepidation, but since then, chamomile has brought her much success with handmilled soap. Bieber recently offered soap making as an enrichment course through Bismarck State College. “I thought it was a great topic for teaching and I liked to experiment with soap,” Bieber said.
Bieber fuses science and art with this class. One soap-making technique is to use a low-water mold, which can easily be created with a microwave. Bieber’s class used this technique to design soap balls. After grating the soap down with a grater, a small amount of hot or cold water is added to the soap shavings. The mixture is heated and stirred into a pasty consistency, and next, additives such as oatmeal and hibiscus and scents like orange and lavender are stirred in. Once poured into a mold, it quickly hardens, but doesn’t set up.
This method doesn’t require a mold, and the class was able to shape the soap withtheir hands. Finally, with the scraps from the high water molding, the class watchedas Bieber used a beater to make floating soap like ivory. The only differencebetween a regular soap and floating soap is that they beat a lot of air into it, like whipped cream.
Bieber’s soap has gained some renown. She said her family teased her about giving soap for Christmas: “If they were going to tease me about my soap, then they just weren’t going to get any,” Bieber said. But, fans are already lining up on Facebook and she said her friends want some.
Bieber has been an arts teacher for the past 15 years. Before teaching, she owned her own art business in Minneapolis, selling her own work. Recently, she taught a class on Mosaics, and is in her third section this term. Aside from art, Bieber is an Educator at St. Alexius in workforce and technical education. She continues to infuse art, creativity and healing into everything she touches.”