Dipping candles in beeswax came in the middle ages. The material was regarded as noble, and reserved only for the churches and the wealthy. “It was very rare,” Yesenia continues, “but it was loved as the scent was clean, and the light was clear and bright.” With the birth of the Industrial Revolution, the time consuming process of dipping gave way to the quicker mass process of pouring and moulds, and it wasn't long before cheaper and more accessible materials followed too.
“The candles we make at Wax Atelier go back to the ancient art of candle making,” Lola says reassuringly, showing me an apparatus reminiscent of a musical instrument. ‘‘It’s very simple. We take a cotton wick and thread up this rack, and dip it into the beeswax. We pull it out, let it cool, and repeat,” she says, pointing out layers instantly starting to build up and dry before your eyes. “It’s slow and ancient, but the result is very unique, and the light feels primeval.”
The viscous beeswax simmers at 80 degrees, giving off a subtle honey scent in the workshop as it boils. Each batch of candles can go through anywhere between eight to 20 dips, depending on Lola and Yesenia’s desired shape, width and length. “Beeswax is precious and beautiful to work with, it has many unrivalled properties,” Lola says. “But we want to use it in a sustainable way so that we don’t overuse it.” Green tea wax, the wax of rose and beeswax infused with madder pigments are blends that are a result of Lola and Yesenia’s extensive research and development. The resulting palette is soft and tonal - each with its own unique scent. “The final colour can sometimes be a happy accident,” Yesenia follows. “We blend the beeswax with plant wax, utilising the inherent qualities of each. For us, it is about awareness and limitations of materials combined with availability.” Any wax left over on apparatus in the workshop simply gets scraped off and melted back down, making the process a resourceful one.