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Maria Gelnett - Hooked on Soap

Maria is the owner of AngelicGlow Handcrafted Soaps in the Greater Binghamton, NY area. She was appointed to the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild Board in July 2008 and has served as Programs and Services Chair and currently HSMG Vice President, Social Media Chair and Policies, Procedures and By-laws Chair.

Like many HSMG members and volunteers, Maria Gelnett's future as a soapmaker began from a preference for handmade things and curiously attending a coapmaking class. Ten years ago, when she wanted to give creative handmade items to use in gift baskets, Maria decided to attend a local soapmaking class. The process and camaraderie of the class, coupled with the aromatherapy and health benefits of using natural soap, was enough to capture her attention. One decade later, and Marian is still hooked on soap.

Today, Maria and her family own and operate AngelicGlow Handcrafted Soaps ( in the Greater Binghamton, NY area. When she is not busy with her utility career and community service, Maria teaches soapmaking classes throughout Upstate New York; and, in a weird twist of fate, she now teaches the very same class she initially took back in 1998, expanding it from introductory to advanced soapmkaing classes at three local community colleges.

One of the bes resources Maria says she came across as a new soapmaker was the Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild (, which she learned about through the Central New York Soapmakers Group. For soapmakers just starting out, Maria recommends joining a local soapmaking group, reading books, taking classes and learning as much as possible before experimenting with soapmaking. And, or course, joining the HSMG!

Maria joined teh HSMG because it provides valuable member benefits, like Certification, and industry-focused information, liability insurance, and the networking that occurs at events like the impressive Annual Conference at which she volunteered as ground crew in Vermont 2008. In July of this year, Maria was appointed to the Board of Directors, and is currently serving as the Chairperson of the Programs and Services Committee.

Leigh O'Donnell - Adirondack Soapworks

Leigh O'Donnell has been  a soapmaker since 2001 and is the owner of Adirondack Soapworks in Saratoga Springs, NY. She has learned various different methods of soapmaking, with an emphasis on cold process. She also has experience in making lotions and balms and other body products.

In 2004, Leigh joined The Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild ( and joined the Board of Directors in 2005. She has worked with the HSMG, planning the last 4 conferences, the latest being held in Palm springs, California, in May of 2009. Leigh is currently serving as the NSMG President, taking over for past President Marie Gale on July 1st. In addition to soapmaking and event planning, Leigh teaches martial arts and lives in Saratoga with her husband and two children.



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