Simplicity, luxury & units of wellbeing
Located on a working saw mill in Oxfordshire, LA-EVA is the organic evolution of an artisan soap studio. Handmade, traditional cold process soap provided us with a unique platform for exploring palettes of scents, the potential of natural raw ingredients, and the care and attention it takes to create something truly beautiful. For a handful of years, in our fragrant studio space, we cooked, cut, and edged blocks and bars of soap. Over time we worked on recipes and formulations for other products too and popped up at festivals, local independent shops and markets, including the iconic London Spitalfields. We established a small, faithful customer base and close working relationships with farms, suppliers and the Soil Association.
In 2017 we pulled together some of the best elements of our work and decided to share them more broadly. Over the next two years a small, carefully curated range of products came together, units of wellbeing inspired by sensory experiences and a love of beauty.
FT - HOW TO SPEND IT, 2019
In our studio we work on unique blends, exploring the layering of ingredients, properties, textures and scents using perfumery principles. We are inspired by the idea of synaesthesia (from the ancient greek σùν, syn – ‘together’ and αіσθησις, aisthesis – ‘sensation’), that captures the interplay of our senses and their synergy. Our blends have come together as incarnations of memories and sentiments. Notes harnessed, recomposed and bottled, offering a scent scape to every day self care rituals.
THE ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
Our contemporary apothecary glass bottles are adorned with paint textures by Rose-Marie Caldecott, a fine artist whose studio is located a stone’s throw across the courtyard from our own. The featured textures are small sections of Rosie’s paintings, capturing the essence of each LA-EVA scent and nodding to the idea that beauty is often to be found in the detail.
The LA-EVA studio has evolved from a maker’s abode into a hub of inspiration and collaboration. We view our space as a blank canvas that allows us to sketch out and express elements of the LA-EVA philosophy in vivo.
Borrowing paradigms from the arts world, we create seasonal installations alongside creative partners, curating our environment to themes that we are engaged in. We approach our installations in a playful manner, and experience change as an energising process.
We regularly host get-togethers including art exhibitions, yoga practices, botanical installation workshops and talks.
Our journal, LIFE LA-EVA, shares moments in time captured in this beautiful backdrop of our physical output.
Louisa Canham started her career as a clinical psychologist, gaining an Oxford Doctorate in her early twenties and specialising in the field of adolescent mental health. She worked for over a decade in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals and prisons before deciding to take an open ended break from psychology when her children were young.
Having discovered the art of making cold process soap several years earlier, Louisa came to open an artisan soap studio in 2014 alongside a close friend. LA-EVA has organically evolved from there into a unique brand that eclectically draws on threads of inspiration and knowledge acquired on this unconventional - left of centre - personal journey.