Kaye Quinn and her exotic soaps

They call him the stick dresser  and her a soap maker, but Doug Storton and Kaye Quinn reflect how a growing number of people find artistic success once they retire.  Doug’s shepherd crooks and Kaye’s hand-crafted soaps are among  an exciting gathering of works by South Australian designers and craftspeople at the new Studio D, which opened last month at Verdun.

Rams horns, deer antlers and selected timbers  are used by Doug  Storton to fashions his range of formal dress and country sticks.

“My grandfather was a Yorkshireman and when I was a child he used to make shepherds crooks because we needed them as a tool of work to capture the sheep,’’ says Mr Storton, 75, who came to Australia in 1976.

Doug was a stud groom in his working life in charge of breeding thoroughbred horses in the Barossa Valley.

About 22 years ago,, he picked up his childhood skill as a hobby and after he retired 10 years ago, it became his retirement passion. Demand quickly drove supply and he began numbering his unique crooks two years ago.

He says the Barossa Valley is a source of wonderful selected timbers such as olive, ash, almond and lillypilly. However, the handles are made from a variety of horns from rams, buffalo and cattle.

“I craft them from anything that is waste… olive tree branches,  for instance,  and I keep my eye open for anything that people don’t want,’’ he says.

What triggered him to pick up his skill?   “I got fed up with buying my grand-daughter cattle shell canes. They were $90 each and she broke three in the first week at the Royal Show.’’

One of his prestigious works was  the ceremonial mace for the Barons of the Barossa and one of his unique Shepherd crooks with a ram’s horn costs $350.00, which he says reflects the time it takes to mould the ram’s horn.

Kaye Quinn “I dream that I will become financial independent again through my art.

was a medical receptionist for a group of oncologists before she retired last year when she soon took a WEA course on making soaps.

“I am 71 and I still have ability and creativity, and I began to dream that I could become financially independent again through my art soaps, ’’ says Kaye.

Home-based, she jokes how her home has become a “veritable soap factory’’.

She relates how during her course in soap-making, she discovered that caustic soda was used and became alarmed when the students had to leave the because of the fumes.


“I decided that I wanted to make premium grade purest soap which is good for our skin.

“My biggest passion is to produce a product that doesn’t have any  nasty ingredients and there are

no sulphates in my products.’’

Kaye began a “protracted exercise’’ seeking  out the most exotic moulds from around the world.

“I have searched for two years for my hand-made range made from  what I think is the best premium grade ingredients.

“These soaps are works of art made from exclusive American moulds.’’

Her art soaps are made from vegetable bases and glycerine.  “I need to choose the colours and the perfumes and added ingredients such as essential oils. It may take me six efforts before I am happy with each design for the 3D soaps.’’

“People say to use these soaps are too good to use, but you need to pamper yourself;  it’s the little luxuries in life that can help create a sense of serenity.’’

“Now my home has become a veritable soap factory:  I dream that I will become financial independent again through my art.’’

Kaye’s soaps range from $9.00 made with olive oil, goats milk, honey through to the exotics and limited art soaps.

Studio D, on Onkaparinga Valley Road, Verdun, is open Wednesday to Sunday and features a changing range of professional designer homewares and objets d’art.

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  1. By Janet, 11/10/2012 @ 9:43 am

    A haven of blessed success. Thank you.

  2. By nadine williams, 11/10/2012 @ 1:26 pm

    A beautiful message Janet.

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