This July why not take steps to go plastic free? this is a topic close to sop's heart: the attitude towards the disposable, ergo valueless, throwaway outer shell that encases a huge proportion of our food and drink - not to mention the rest!

Consciousness is at last taking hold and overriding the longstanding ease associated with packaging. In recent years buying things has not been a thoughtless exercise for me.

With every purchase I wonder of its necessity - can I live without it? Does my need outweigh the damage it causes on our planet? Yes. A trip to the supermarket brings about really weighty questions. Sometimes my desire has overtaken my logic, and this is something that i'm going to work against this July -- my birthday month - it's ok... i've gone off balloons anyway! (no balloons aren't plastic but they are a temporary, disposable item that just ends up on landfill!)

It's important not to get tangled in the plastic web, and recognise the damaging aspects of the things we take for granted - balloons are a great example - they brighten the place up somewhat, but then they deflate and go in the bin. They are what we've come to associate with celebrations, and everything else that comes with a typical party scene. I think now more than ever is a time to get creative, be resourceful and just use what you got! Houses are filled with crafty bits and bobs, and if they're not typically crafty then that doesn't mean they can't be used that way! sculptures. assemblages even using everyday household items that are going spare can become features!

Flowers - flowers are the planet having a party. all. the. time. Bring them indoors - i can assure you they will brighten any room up 100000x better than any balloons can!

Safe to say this went off on a little tangent, stay tuned for some practical tips to accompany and assist your #plasticfreejuly !

Until then, and in the meantime why not check out this official page and get inspired by some wonderful folk across the globe

This fuzzy sop is made up of gorgeous ingredients: within the base is avocado oil, macadamia oil, and organic cocoa butter, the smell it exudes is a citrus blend of 5 essential oils, and the colours are all hues that have not yet appeared in the sop directory.

Indian barberry and Indian madder are the yellow and pink respectively, whilst the fuzzy green is cambrian blue clay which heated exponentially and morphed from its usual soft shade into a deep dark wormhole.

The entire recipe has 100g of soy milk, courtesy of Edenera's soy milk powder, alongside the 200g of water in the lye solution. Milk is well known to scorch and burn, and the soy milk throughout the sop mix is only 7% of the total weight in oils. So... what caused the green fuzz??

Clays are known to accelerate batter thickening/ known as trace (the word that describes sop mix thickness - "light/medium/thick trace"), and with cambrian blue clay, the thickening did indeed happen. Having some extra soy milk mixed up, it got added to the blue jug in an attempt to keep that part of the mix fluid. It helped a little, but not much, hence the thick blocks of colour throughout the loaf and the cut bars.

The extra heating could already be seen when sneaking a peek at the gelling sop in its loaf mould. Once poured, sop is put to bed: onto a heat mat and insulated with loads of old tea towels. This is sop primed for gel phase - the beginning of becoming sop, where the high volume produces heat, which in turn deepens the colours - in this case the extra concentrated soy milk was a catalyst in the cambrian clay layer catching. In this phase this dark layer was also softer to touch (whilst the other colours were setting up/hardening as is expected), almost as if the visible part was the skin, concealing a chaotic reaction within.

Fascinating stuff...

Having been quite taken with the technique that has given rise to sop's terrain collection, yet struggling to affix any words onto the creations; a thought, or rather a phrase that has come up lately - "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts", is something that could be attributed to the forms and the rivers that run through each solid graspable sop block. In a topographic map, contours describe terrain, the rise and fall of land - affixed to a specific physical site, and one that can only be read through landmarks and differences in nature.

The parts that make up a sop within the terrain collection all vary wildly, but with a few commonalities. As the stem of each part is rooted in different terrain -- plant oils, flowers, leaves, sediment, fingers - they are all still of the earth, and they make up the sop object in distinct measures, enough of each to produce a stable (and satisfying) block. This is supposedly the whole.

A whole: possibly seen in the shape of a circle or a sphere, the largest in our (semi)comprehension being a planet.

[sop] made from many parts that converge and cling to each other, somewhat forced by a hand but not so much forced as rather coalesced, transmitted, moulded, encouraged - the parts are asked to stick and get along. The fact that nature here, as it is exists within sop (as at one point extracted from and then somewhat inserted back into [nature - terrain sop as nature!]) is indicative of the flow of land, topographic maps, crests and swells of waves - a sign of completing the circle, and enacting cyclical life so to speak.

Where these elements break out of the whole (speaking to the whole is greater than the sum of its parts) is where all these points converge and realise themselves as erosive and useful. By erosive there is a clear relation of land and sop, where both erode over time, one through use by the hand and one by the sea.

Use by hand is how sop is shown to be use-ful. Here is an object that can be viewed, but the parts that make it up extend themselves outwards to the body-part. Contact with the skin is both the enactment of cyclical life and its performative function: it transfers the good stuff of nature onto the skins' surface and washes away the body's debris.

So thinking of the terrain collection in light of a misquoted Aristotelian phrase is interesting when you realise there is a function to something so well rounded and pleasing to all the human senses; it is impossible for any two pieces from the same batch to look identical, and even more unlikely that the second time making a batch will resemble the first* - which must mean that all the parts work together slightly differently each time to produce a "greater" outcome.

* sundog 2