Soap Judging at a Local Show

Soap Judging at a Local Show

A few years ago the local show committee put soap on the Pavillion Schedule.

They needed a few things, like what rules would they need and a judge. I helped them formulate their classes and agreed to judge.

Having come from many, many years of organising, running and judging horse events, I have a wealth of practical skills and knowledge about what is needed, as well as my technical skill as a professional soaper and chandler.

Firstly, defining what is a professional, and what is an amateur, and that the two should not be in the same classes together is pretty easy.

If you are licensed and insured so that you can legally sell your products, then you are a professional.

At the end of the day, it is up to you to do the ethical thing when you see a soap class at a local show and not run your wares in the amateur classes so that amateurs are not discouraged.

Understand that a professional trouncing amateurs at a small local show is not a win, it’s actually quite unethical. Your job is to encourage an amateur by mentoring them into the classes, or, like me, step up and be the judge.

Secondly, defining the soap judging criteria, which is not just about the look.

Soaping is a science, not just an art, and at the end of the day a bar of soap still needs to be useful as a bar of soap. When I looked around there was not a lot of information.

For those who are asked to judge locally, I formulated this set of steps and criteria, which has worked well.

As I judge each entry, it is a big help to have a penciller, and I use the following steps.

  1. Take your own tools including distilled water and scoring criteria and sheets. Have them ready well ahead of the day. I have:-
      • My own distilled water (I have my own still in the soapery),
      • A sharp knife,
      • Plastic or paper bowls,
      • A large dishwashing tub ,
      • Paper towel.
      • Score sheets, pen and clipboard.
    1. Visually assess the entry,
    2. Slice a small part off the side and assess it then lather it up in distilled water in its own bowl. Do not use the same bowl for all entries, which is why you have a pack or two of disposable ones.
    3. Observe and score against my defined criteria,
    4. Wash my hands in clean water and set up to do the next bar.
    5. Tally the scores and award placings,
    6. Same again with other classes,
    7. Award Champion if required,
    8. Give the score sheet to the Show Secretary so that competitors can view If they wish to see where they can improve.
    9. If an entry does not meet the brief, be very clear why, such as it actually was not a useable bar of soap.
    10. Have fun.

    I formulated a Guideline and a score sheet, which I use when judging.




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