Alicia J Morales
Clean by ali, llc
Now that we are into March, & Spring is right around the corner, with much anticipated warm weather, we bring to you this month's "Featured Artist" Alicia J. Morales of Clean by ali, llc. This mother of three, and grandmother of two brings to us her story of how a school science project turned into a passion, & dreaming of one day sinking her toes into some warm sand at her beach side bungalow.
Super Soapers: Tell us a little about yourself.
Alicia Morales: Hi everyone! I was born in Biloxi, MS. I have lived all of my school aged years on the Mississippi gulf coast, graduated high school, and joined the Naval Reserves. I met my husband of 23 years while in Naval 'A" school. We have 3 children and 2 grandchildren. I earned my Bachelors degree in Accounting, and a Masters degree in Business Administration. I have been an accountant for public and private industries for 20 years. My focus for the last 12 years has been payroll for a local citrus company. This is what I fondly call my "day" job. I live in The City Beautiful, Orlando, Florida, and from time to time, during the summer months, I dream of snowy days to keep cool.
AM: My journey into soap making began as a complete and last minute surprise. My middle daughter had a high school science experiment, in which she was required, to make liquid soap. I was at a complete loss! So, google and I became super great friends. After much research, we headed off to the store and purchased all the supplies we needed. It took 2 attempts, but we finally got it right. I was so proud! While doing the research for liquid soap, I became fascinated with the bar soap methods of soap making. So, I swore to myself that if she ended up with a good grade on her project, I would set off to attempt bars of soap. She received an A! So my journey began and has not stopped since. I had so much soap in the beginning that I was giving it away to family and friends. They loved it, so I have stuck with it. I hope to take over the world, one bar of soap at a time!
SS: Do you CP or MP, & why?
AM: I CP. I love the science behind it really. I think it is pretty amazing that you can throw all those oils together and end up with a beautiful bar of soap! I mean, when you think of all that oil - cooking oil - why would you want to bathe with it? I have to admit that I never read labels on soap bars. I was a shower gel girl. When there was a sale at my local bath store, I stocked up. Once I really got into soap making, I found out that most of that soap is NOT soap. I had a bout of psoriasis for a while - gone long before my journey began. However, I think about the fact that I could have probably helped it with my own soap rather than giving myself a shot each month. Needless to say, since beginning making my own soap, my local bath store has seen a decline in sales. LOL.
SS: What inspires you most?
AM: Other soap makers inspire the heck out of me! I love chatting with other artists about their process and adventures. I cannot get enough of looking at soap 'porn'! I never realized there was such a large community of soap makers. Nor did I ever realize the magnitude of the different types of soap! I can literally spend all day surfing Facebook and the internet, in general, just looking at it. I like to see what types of scents they are blending, and their interpretation of what that scent "looks" like. What colors did they use to channel the scent, and design, of what they see? Although this can be a competitive industry, everyone I have come across or chatted with are extremely kind and helpful. That inspires me to be that way with others who are new to the process. Everyone can use a helping hand at times, so I try to pay forward the help that has been given to me.
SS: Do you consider yourself an artist?
AM: Well, I am a little partial, so I am going to say, yes. LOL. I think that is because I am such an analytical thinker. I always wanted to be an artist, and I have always loved the "artist" communities. They tend to see the world in a different way than the rest of us. So the first time I was described as a soap artisan, I latched on! My husband and I have always had a running joke about my "artistic" side. You could say it basically did not exist. However, since my soap making began, we cannot really use that joke any longer. That seems to be the one and only place that I am actually creative in, an artistic sense.
AM: It has opened me up to so many new friends and collegues. I have met so many new people. I stay busy most of the time these days. Most of all, I have learned to deal with failure in a very healthy way. Not all of my soap batches turn out as a masterpiece. There are periodic failures and "what the heck happened here" batches. I never really dealt well with failure. I mean, who does, really? However now, I brush it off and move on. We are our worst critics. Most of all, soap making has given me a true outlet to spend time in a world all of my own at times. And honestly, we all need that.
SS: How would you describe your creative process?
AM: Hectic! Most times I see a design I want in my mind. A lot of times, it does not work out that way when I have the finished product. However, I am usually happy with how it ends up. I try to match colors with scent, and how I picture the scent looking. I try and think about what I would "see" if I were blind. Could I smell it and automatically know that lavender essential oil or fragrance oil would be a beautiful shade of purple? Or would the Energy fragrance oil be a hippie tie-dye bar? I do not want to make a bar of fresh snow and color it blue or pink - neither one of those colors would scream "snow". LOL. I try to be very organized and have everything ready to mix at a moments notice. Sadly, I have forgotten things from time to time. Between my mother and myself, we are always cleaning! She is a neat freak, so she is always behind me picking up my messes. That helps out tremendously! I hate cleaning in general, so the less I have to do, the more I can focus.
SS: What do you benefit the most from other artists in your craft?
AM: I think I benefit most from hearing about others experiences. Whether it be from using a particular scent, purchasing supplies, shipping product, or just complete disasters they have had - it helps me know that I am not alone. I like knowing there are others out there with the same thoughts or issues. In the beginning, it was hard. Hard not really having a group of people to turn to when I needed the help. So to have the Super Soaper group of such talented artists - well, that is the bees knees!
SS: Now for a little bit of fun.
Most soap artists seem to be all about their FO's & EO's, which of course are an important part of soap making, & everyone knows that scent is the major trigger sensory known for people. If you could explain which, FO or EO, has triggered the biggest memory from childhood, or the most important time in your life, which would it be & why? (this is optional of course).
AM: Well, like most of the previous featured artists, that is a hard question to answer! However, I think my favorite so far has been the tropical vacation fragrance oil. I am a tropical climate, beach girl! I grew up on the beach, and then moved to Florida to be close to the ocean air. Although I am not yet as close as I would like to be, I am bugging my husband about selling our house when my youngest goes to college and getting a beachside bungalow! So that FO just reminds me of everything I always envisioned as the way I wanted to live my life - laid back, free, swinging in a hammock with a great book, and sipping a tropical drink out of a coconut! Does it get any better than that? I don't think so! I have always been fascinated with the beach and the atmosphere surrounding it. When you go to the beach, all your worries wash away. Appropriate yes? Why not capture that in a bar of soap?
You can find more information on Alicia J. Morales and her soaps at -
This interview was conducted & edited by Misty Raines Clapp, Super Soapers Creator & Admin.
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