Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sudsy Saturday Featured Artist

Now, I am not a big bath person. Some people love to stay in the bath for an hour relaxing, about 15 minutes is my max, as long as I have a good book to read while I am there; if not, then it is shorter than that; however, I believe the products from Bonnie's Allegheny Hearth will change my mind. I have yet to see a more unusual collection of soaps and fragence combinations.

The soaps are all handmade in the heart of the Allegheny Mountains and my favorites, the Gemstone Soaprocks, are hand carved.

Bonnie also has a line of body products, such as this luxurious silken therapy set.

One of her best seller's is this Hippie Trip Soap made with Hemp oil, lemongrass, tea tree, lavender, patchouli and sweet orange.

Enjoy her interview below and make sure to visit her Artfire shop! There are over 100 items to browse through and I am certain you will find something that will be perfect for yourself, or for gift giving!

What role does your art play in your life?

Soap making is one of my passions. I find great satisfaction in formulating products that pamper the skin and care for my customers. Working with the many aspects of the craft, I am able to be a mad scientist as well as an artisan.

I am always mindful of the many generations of craftsmen who have passed along their skills. I strive to work for the advancement of the craft by honing my methods and techniques. I am always willing to mentor the next generation of artisans. I do demonstrations and presentations at symposiums and gatherings and I actively participate in soap making forums.

Where do you live and what is it like?

I live in Altoona in Central Pennsylvania. The area is abundant in natural beauty. My home is located on 5 wooded acres, atop a hill in the heart of the breathtakingly glorious Allegheny Mountains-thus, the inspiration for the name Allegheny Hearth Soaps. I was born in Altoona and lived here my entire life. It was a wonderful place, to raise my three sons, who are now adults. I plan to remain in this warm and welcoming place for my entire life, I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

Who is your favorite craft supplier?

I purchase my supplies from many vendors. The internet has been wonderful. I made my first soap in 1979. The only oils and butters were limited to what was available in local supermarkets. Now I can revel in delights like shea, mango and cocoa butters, coconut, palm and avocado oils. Essential and fragrance oil selections are astounding. My studio shelves are filled with enticing amber bottles that I can blend to my heart’s content. Colorants safe for cosmetic use are also readily available. I dance for joy when the delivery truck brings a new box filled with new delights, begging to be concocted into something unique and original that is sure to thrill my customers.

What are your goals with your ArtFire studio?

I have a well established local customer base. It is at the request of my customers, who are always asking if I have a website that I have decided to branch out to on line selling. I want Artfire to serve as an electronic catalog for my clientele, and to offer my awesome products to the rest of the world!

Where do you receive your inspiration, in general?

I am inspired by nature: the spectrum of colors, the textures, the herbs and flowers, the trees, the fragrances – all of creation.

I also draw inspiration from my customers. They are the greatest. So many of them are so kind to take the time to write me notes and emails thanking me for the results they get from using my products. They sing my praises to their friends and neighbors, which grows my business. I am grateful to them and dedicate my efforts to them.

How did you come to selling crafts?

When we moved to our home in 1975, the property was completely outlined with mature pine trees. The first autumn our yard was covered with pinecones. I picked 21 bushels and decided to make pine cone wreaths as Christmas gifts. Several people who were gifted with the wreaths asked to purchase some for their family and friends. Through the years, the requests kept coming. The store where I am employed was generous enough to allow me to place my floral arrangements for sale. 25 years later, I still work there. My soap cart offers my wares to our customers.

What is the best piece of advice you can give other artists?

Find your passion. If you love what you are doing, you will succeed. Continue to educate yourself and evolve in your art. And lastly, pass along what you have learned so your craft will benefit from your talents.


  1. What abeautiful little girl!!

    Thanks for posting on my Sunday Blog Blast thread!

  2. I absolutley LOVE the soap rocks!

  3. Thank you for the compliment for my DGD and I love those soap rocks too!! They are so unusual and to think they are hand carved. I am going to get one for my guest BR, but won't let anyone use it!!

  4. Thank you so much for featuring my soap studio. I truly appreciate you kind and generous remarks.
    Your blog is charming!

    I just want to clairfy one thing, the soaprocks like the tigereye are hand carved. The emerald one is hand cast using a silicone mold made from an actual gemstone. In my studio, the ones marked mineral formation are individually cast,colored and fragranced. All the rest are handcarved by me.

    Thanks again,

  5. Thank you for letting us know Bonnie! Your products are wonderful! I will be in your shop very soon to order.


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