Monday, August 17, 2009

Candles: Go for the glamour of beeswax

There are candle people, and there’s the rest of the world. For years, I wanted to be a candle person, one of those women who has half-burned candles scattered artfully throughout her home and always seems to be saying, “Last night, I lit a candle and …”

I craved that mysterious romanticism that seems to be the birthright of the candle clique. But OK, it’s not me. I am perfectly happy lighting a candle every two to three months instead of two to three times a week.

When I do light a candle, however, I want to set a mood — peaceful, spiritual, joyful, sensual, or elegant — that cannot be achieved with electricity or a run-of-the-mill, mass-produced candle.

Handmade pure beeswax candles stand alone, head and shoulders above their paltry competitors, such as paraffin, gel, or even soy. Some rival candles are environmental nightmares, while others are OK on the ecological front. But none measures up to the power of the bee.

First, beeswax is all-natural, and unless our civilization manages to destroy the honeybee, it will remain a renewable resource. Beeswax also produces a radiant golden flame and a long-burning candle (not cheap but definitely economical).

Second, the extremely subtle honey scent of a beeswax candle won’t asphyxiate you, your significant other, your children or anyone else you’ve invited to be in the same room as a burning candle. Other candles often are perfumed to the point of an allergy attack, if not outright rankness.

Third, you don’t have to consider your home’s color palette. The dull gold color of a beeswax candle, which comes in pale to dark shades depending on what our bee friends have eaten, is nature’s neutral: It goes with every color in the rainbow, livening up traditional decor and grounding modern decor. Consequently, a beeswax candle can be moved from holder to holder and from room to room without regard to potential color or style clashes.

I currently have two, both purchased at the Saturday Asheville City Market:
  • A plain 3x3-inch round pillar beeswax candle ($12) from Soulshine Beeswax Candles in Black Mountain. This is the ultimate in candle versatility. Standing alone, it’s a glowing beacon, but it also can blend into any tablescape. (Is tablescape a real word, or have I watched Sandra Lee on the Food Network once too often?)
  • A 3-inch pressed flower pillar beeswax candle ($16-$18) from Spotted Dog Farm in Asheville. If you’re thinking, “Huh, country, how nice …,” stop! Sure, some of the flowers are a little frilly. However, I got a bachelor button candle, which is simple enough to work with retro or modern décor once you ditch the raffia ribbon (or just untie the bow), as would the fern candles. And even one of the pansy candles — surely the epitome of country — reminded me more of a French Impressionist painting than a prop from “Little House on the Prairie.”

When I again live in a perfect (money-making) world, I also have my eye on a beeswax lantern ($53/large) with pressed Queen Anne’s lace from Bee Global in Robbinsville. Architectural, yet delicate, it would make a statement year-round.

No comments:

Post a Comment