Artisan soap-maker Judy Steele has a sustainable approach to the ancient practice of soap-making. Hopefully, when you read on, you’ll appreciate what this practice brings to your home. Emma and Sarah from Treehouse Textiles raved about Judy’s natural olive oil skin care range called Olieve & Olie so when Judy invited me to a workshop i jumped at it, eager to see what all the fuss was about.

Suit up in safety goggles, gloves and long sleeves.

I joined Elly, Helen, Moira and of course Judy on a creative journey in Olive & Ollie’s serene studio which is nestled amongst the natural coastal bush land of St. Andrews Beach in the Mornington Peninsula.  Judy is passionate about what she does and part of the journey involves understanding why she creates these beautiful products. Making soap from olive oil is more expensive but far more sustainable compared to the cheaper palm oil alternative. It’s also well documented how palm oil plantations are taking over rainforests, destroying biodiversity and contaminating the earth with large amounts of pesticide and manure. Judy loves olive trees and how sustainable they are. ‘The older the trees, the better the oil extracted and olive oil products are wonderful for your skin’.

Judy has a simple yet measured, old school approach to creating soap. She makes soap free from artificial additives and preservatives and uses extra virgin olive oil as the core ingredient.  Judy’s workshop lasts for three hours. You start with some lunch, including sweets, Judy walks you through a brief history and then you meander through the steps in the soap-making process.

A fun creative experience enjoyed with a group of like-minded ladies. I left refreshed with the knowledge and the confidence to make my own soap. So, if these incredible handcrafted natural soap-bars have struck a chord with you, do make contact with Judy. She is currently running workshops in the studio on the first and third Saturdays of each month. Visit for more information.

Measure out your extra virgin olive oil.

Add all your oils together and melt. Allow them to cool to approximately 110F, or within 5 degrees of the lye water.

When the solution and oils reach the same temperature, you stir the solution slowly into the stainless steel pot of melted oils to create the soap mixture.

Add the lye water mixture to the melted oils, carefully. Stir vigorously until trace occurs. Trace looks like a thin pudding.

A variety of seeds can be added to he soap including tapioca and poppy seeds (a natural exfolient). Natural clays can be used as well as a range of essential oils.

Pour your traced soap mixture into your moulds.

Soaps of extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, pure water, essential oils and botanicals.

Olieve & Olie luxurious hand wash. Handcrafted with extra virgin olive oil. Two scents; wild lemon myrtle and lavender and rose geranium.



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