Elena of LiberaMente, Santa Fiora, makes artisan soaps from locally sourced natural ingredients.
Her philosophy is one of keeping as close to nature, tradition, the seasons and locality as possible, a philosophy that can be read into her business name, a play on words in Italian, meaning both liberally - as in "apply liberally" - and "free mind".
As in any craft, perfecting techniques takes an ongoing combination of trial, timing, error, and experience. Self-taught and passionate about the environment and living sustainably, Elena is constantly sourcing seasonal ingredients, with 0Km in mind, and methods that work best in keeping with the season and the traditional art of soap making. With her laboratory in Santa Fiora and Monte Amiata and its diverse array of natural flora on her doorstep, she is able to source locally the majority of her ingredients.
quite literally sweating over a hot stove Elena mixes the ingredients, the base of which is usually beeswax or olive oil, in a huge saucepan together with selected ingredients, such as hand-picked lavender and tea tree oil.
This first process, which takes several hours, is completed by poring the emulsified mixture into individual moulds where they are left to 'cure' for several weeks. If not allowed to set the soap would melt away with use far too quickly.
A labour of love, once finished each naturally textured and coloured, heavenly perfumedis a piece of sensory art in its own right.
Elena's business in Santa Fiora has been growing rapidly in the past year. Her soaps have proved popular at markets around southern Tuscany, and she is setting her sights toward local agriturismo properties that are embracing eco-sustainable tourism.
If you are interested in ordering her fabulous soaps please use the form below.