Angela Lorenz's Soap Story reads like a fairy tale (or soap opera.) It takes place in the 1950's in Calabria, Italy, where Donna Teresa, a woman with her own private washing area, confronts a young woman who is using her canal, only to find out that the woman is a struggling, single mother, whose luck is about to change. Lorenz claims that the tale is a true story told to her by the granddaughter of Donna Teresa.
Lorenz has created a piece of work that requires a lot of interaction from the audience. When the book is originally purchased, you receive a boxed, empty six paged album & six bars of soap. Do you see where this is heading? In order to get the pages, you must use each bar where the silk-screened linen pages reside. They must be dried out & placed in the numbered page that was stamped on the soap. So you have to ask yourself: do I keep the bars of soap or finish the book? Luckily, here at the Jaffe Center, we were able to get a finished copy of the book & the six bars of soap.
Lorenz must have been inspired by Willy Wonka & takes here book a step further. She utilizes the power of special edition & has a "golden ticket" hidden in one of the bars of soap. The receiver of the ticket wins a trip to Italy. Unfortunately, Lorenz has reported that no one has came forward, but she held a lottery for the prize & the curator of the special collection at Brown University's John Hay Library won the trip. Still, you never know; JCBA may have that special ticket hidden in one of our six bars of soap.
Lorenz has created a hands-on book that takes advantage of the process, the material & the editions. She has taken the story & ingrained every aspect of the story into the book. The pages look like rags, the book is bound in twine, the soap is wrapped in a reproduction of a woman's magazine, October 1956, titled "Mani di Fata" ("Hands of the Fairy") & the box the book comes in mimics an old soap box. Her endeavors creates an unified message.
You can also view Judith Klau's analysis of Soap Story, which features more photos of the book, at the JCBA website: Soap Story