an old profession

An old profession

I know old is better than brand new. Old furniture lasts, old art, historic irreplaceable treasures are always coveted for their quality and craftsmanship. But old knowledge and skills are being forgotten. Like, what is a chandler? It’s a renaissance/medieval term, referring to the person responsible for all the candles, wax, soaps and supplies for the town and specifically, ships. It’s a beautiful old profession and its “green” and good for the earth.
I was showing a beautiful new pairs of taper candles I made, to a friend at the farmers market and she remarked “those candles are so old-fashioned” to my surprise “she didn’t own candlestick holders”. I was thinking about my generation X all the things we don’t use anymore that our grandparents generations were raised with. You can think of almost everything in our house as disposable and replaceable. And I looked at my pretty long and “old-fashioned” candles in my hand and decided then and there to teach people why they still need them. What’s old is also kinder and gentler to the earth. The old-fashioned way of candle making doesn’t require any containers, packaging, petroleum or additives like the new designer container candles. My friend at the market remarked, her candles created black soot on her walls and air filters, and I told her they were made with petroleum products because beeswax burns clean and smokeless.  A candle burns emitting light and scent. Beeswax is charged with negative ions which remove positively charged allergens, dust, chemicals in the air. Who new that a thousand years ago? But if beeswax candles are burned then you might not need an air filter. Its contrary to burn chemicals and toxins-then buy an air filter to purify your air? Most of the candles on the market are made with paraffin wax, derived from petroleum, and scented with synthetic fragrances, also derived from petroleum. In the study by the American Chemical Society, researchers found that the petroleum-based candles emitted varying levels of cancer-causing toluene and benzene, as well as other hydrocarbon chemicals called alkanes and alkenes, which are components of gasoline and can irritate respiratory tracts and trigger asthma.

If that’s not enough reason to buy a pair of candle stick holders, save some green and buy the most efficient type of beeswax candle. Taper candles don’t smoke, drip or waste any wax. Because of the way they are hand-dipped. You know how important this is if you have ever burned a pillar candle and it leaves a huge puddle of wax and partially unburned candle. You never have to worry about waste with a taper candle. The pure beeswax is melted into a hot vat and we dip the candles for the better part of a day averaging about 20-27 dips and cooling between dips. A burning taper will emit a warm glow not white light as petroleum candles do.
Here is what to look for, so keep reading. You get what you pay for. If you are buying candles for a dollar they are not beeswax. If you are buying taper candles check the bottoms and make sure they “taper” and are not from a mold. Taper candles burn 1-1.5 hrs per inch of candle. So a 12” pair of candles can last around 15-18 hrs of burn time. That’s approximately a $1.00 per hour. For those with small children and pets who say “we don’t burn candle sticks’ I have a solution, a recycled bottle candle, or "container candle" we make wine bottles into candles. They insulate the wax enough that about 75% of the wax gets burned, they also are easy to keep from getting knocked over by placing earthquake tape on the bottom of the bottle. Our bottle candles will burn 50 hrs and they are all recycled. * We refill these candles for $5.00 discount.  This is better choice for people with small children and pets. Lastly, beeswax is costly. We just can’t avoid it, the cost to produce wax, for beekeepers, is 3 times greater than the cost of honey. It just takes more energy for a bee to make wax over honey. So let’s thank the bees, and celebrate their gifts by doing something traditional, and old-fashioned. Love-Light by Violet Cavanaugh

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