Mind Glitter

There is so much plastic in our oceans our sea life is dying. Not just dying, but being tortured in the process. The idea of this hurts my heart.

I recycle my plastic bags, drove my last car for 13 years being the second person to own it. I don’t buy process and packaged food as much as possible. I cook from raw materials at home and don’t support restaurants, (I know, blasphemy in our fast-food culture). I don’t believe that I need to have that new thing every day. I want to believe because I don’t buy water in plastic bottles that I’m not contributing to the catastrophe of our wildlife. It is not true, but I want to believe I am a terrible consumer.

I live on this plant and I create trash. I eat less than I did 5 years ago and therefore create less waste. I wear my clothes until they are thread-bear and recycle them. I drive as little as possible and I use palm oil. Geez, this topic is complex. I am a walking contradiction.

I strive to lessen my impact on this planet. There are many companies that do NOTHING but what they are mandated by law. I see this as a dishonorable attitude. I see the law as the lowest common denominator of accountability. Most of us would never think of taking something that wasn’t ours, breaking into a home or worse. The law is for everyone. Honorable and dishonorable. The question I ask myself is, “how can I be exceptional?” How can I go above and beyond with self-accountability?

There are nights I have such remorse for what humanity has done to this planet I feel an endless well of despair. Some experts say our seas are beyond repair. Some humans are so inconceivable cruel I cannot begin to understand their motives.

I take this idea into everything I do. How can we be self-accountable, without laws telling us how to behave, with my interactions and my soap making?

Lately I have read a few things about soap making that bothering me.  Glitter.

Yup, there is much talk about banning Mylar glitter.  Because it can get to the water sources. So can a plastic bag.

I don’t have an answer. The older I get, the fewer answers I have. So many things are mucked up. People with extreme wealth, while others struggle for clean water. There is an idea that all things should be equal. They aren’t, not with humans and not in nature. There is an idea that we are all capable of everything. It’s not true. I’m clearly not capable of being a brain surgeon. (I am over simplifying for brevity sake – a huge topic.)

I know this doesn’t sort it all out and might even muddy the waters…

More Specific

We can move toward bio-degradable glitter before legislation does. This is the direction I’m moving with my soap art. Because I have begun to lose interest in glitter, I have focused on micas. Painting with micas, dusting with micas and coloring soap with mica. Curious how one door can shut and something else will appear.

Consider This

My good friend, someone who has been with me for so many years I’ve lost count, presented a philosophical idea to me – do what makes your life bearable. We’re all trying to survive. This statement is true for every living creature.

My friend drinks whisky, on occasion. She is fully aware of what alcohol can do to the body taken in large doses. Managed pleasure. I, also, drink a beer or red wine. I don’t do this every day, but on occasion I allow myself a treat. A glass of alcohol with a friend can bring a sparkle to conversation. A version of glitter.

Glitter is a treat. If our waterways were perfect, not one plastic bag was floating around, unrestrained. Would glitter on our soap be an issue? Is it the type of glitter? If we come up with a better glitter, can we still have this pleasure?

Are we going to remove all forms of pleasure from our world? How do we balance this idea, some things (by-products from art/industry/existence) are hazardous to us and our environments. We must be specific in our care for ourselves and our planet - weigh the results of our efforts and strive to do better in every area. 

As I continue to alter my life in earth's preservation, corporations continue to pollute our world. How do I battle the tide of unconscious and even malicious actions? 

Start Somewhere 

I am suggesting considered and conscious thought about our actions, the results of those actions on ourselves, our immediate environments and life as a whole. Taking such full responsibility, nothing is shrugged off. I’m unclear of the impact of glitter on our world and creatures. I’m unclear if it is repairable. I do know glitter delights me. I would happily trade all my plastic bags for the ability to use bio-degradable glitter.  I also know the idea of a tortured creature is not worth any pleasure I might derive from glitter. 

When I bring so much thought to my world and see a narcissistic, selfish person (if they are a person) leave their fast-food garbage next to their car, when they are perfectly capable of walking that garbage to the near by trash, I am at a full stop loss. 

How much glitter can be made from one styrofoam egg carton? Is the real issue about glitter, that we cannot recycle it; that our sea life chooses glitter and plastic over food? Or that glitter contaminates our food sources? How about the fact that we are over fishing our seas? Where to begin to unravel this mess?

Let's not mention Fukushima because that, on balance, tips the glitter scales. 

I know glitter isn’t made from styrofoam, but let’s ask about the lesser of two evils, not throw the baby out with the bath water. In my heart of hearts, I see glitter going the way of mercury or better yet, Apple’s behavior? 

The ancient Egyptians believed after death they stood in front of Thoth, the god of Wisdom. He then weighed the heart against that of a peacock feather. I have no idea if I have a light heart, but I can tell you mine would tip in one direction. I have adopted the Buddhist behavior and strive to do things to lighten my heart. This has no effect on the seas, but if I think for others, offer products that lighten the heart, I might - just might - lessen my innate burden to this earth. 




  • I truly appreciated reading your article. I am 74 years old I lost my mom when I was 9 and was raised by my grandmother who lived through the depression she wasted nothing no matter how small it was it was tied with a piece of twine or a rubber band and wax paper or parchment. The refrigerator would look empty by today’s standards but she would make the most fabulous meals common worn sheets became pillowcases, old curtains became my Halloween costumes, brown paper bags became beautiful wrapping paper, I grew up that way and tried to maintain her standards I’m the mother of six children and 14 grandchildren now and when possible I have tried to show them that same respect for people, food, other people, and anything else that I could possibly have an impact on. I grew up with milk and soda coming in bottles which were returned to the store for deposit not thrown in the trash. I try to do my small part whenever possible. I hear myself speak my grandmother’s words frequently what has the world come to, everything is disposable including humans anymore and it breaks my heart and I worry everyday of what kind of world my grandchildren are going to live in. I took up soap making just about a year ago when my eyes would no longer allow me to do fine stitching to make quilts and I am so at peace when I do it. In my Endeavor I already use a lot of mica’s for painting and have managed to purchase bio Glitters that are available. I just believe that any small thing that we do can happen impact as a whole. In my search to make soap I came across your site and I am so amazed and enthralled by your work I so wish we lived close together even at my age I would love to learn from you. I purchased several of your soap doughs recently but find myself a little intimidated by it yet. Your soaps are works of art, but I’m going to challenge myself this week keeping in mind Perfection doesn’t come overnight and see what I can create. I hope to buy one of your books in the near future to learn more detail and so much more. I would love to live close to you and enjoy a glass of wine or a cup of tea and have an amazing conversation and perhaps learn even a small bit of your creativity with soap dough. Thank you for your articles and your soap dough best wishes Mary

    Mary Torbett
  • Well said!! There are numerous documentaries on our oceans, sea life, people with cancer (we used to rarely hear of someone having cancer) showing the impact of our past and present choices, ike you mentioned plastic bags, overfishing, and Fukushima, that people just close their eyes and hearts to. WAKE UP PEOPLE!!! OUR CHILDREN ARE LEFT TO DEAL WITH OUR CHOICES!! They and future generations will have to figure out how to clean up our messes, or turn a blind eye to them, and pass this on to our grandchildren and their children. SO SAD!!!!
    I’m proud of ya. Wish I lived near you so I could be your apprentice!!!!!!! Hugz, Tree


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published