Learning to make soap and clay flowers

National History Museum of Belarus hosts master classes in making soap and realistic floristry as part of Hand Made Craft Fair
One master class taught participants about the various types of soap and how they can be made. In recent years, it’s become fashionable to make home-made soap in beautiful designs, such as hearts and shells. Of course, they make perfect gifts.

The exhibition’s organiser, Antonina Yeliseeva, tells us, “People are keen to learn techniques themselves, so we gave a short lecture — sharing the secrets of soap making — followed by the chance to chat to the experts. You can find out how to make soap online but it’s so much better to learn firsthand and be able to ask questions.”

Floristry is a new trend for Belarus, but is already growing in popularity. The two hour master class taught hobbyists to make realistic flowers from self-hardening polymer clay. “You can hardly tell them from the real thing,” asserts Ms. Yeliseeva. “It’s almost impossible to distinguish between the natural rose and the artificial. It takes time and knowledge but our visitors really enjoyed the lesson.”

The craft fair gathered 40 craftsmen from all over Belarus, sharing their expertise on a diverse range of hobbies, from making decorations with copper wire and straw weaving to cooking spice cakes, painting with gel pens on wood and mastering Richelieu embroidery. “We did our best to attract the best masters,” notes Ms. Yeliseeva. “However, novices also attended, giving the professionals a run for their money.”
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