One of the things I most cherish about Willow & Birch Apothecary is that it allows me so many opportunities to connect with the history of the makers who came before me. Many of the techniques I use in my own studio have been carried through the ages, forging a connection between myself and 19th-century apothecaries and crafters. Of course, I also enjoy putting my unique spin on my processes to make the most of modern technology…and to add a bit of my own creativity, too! ;-)
My DIY candle-making process is a perfect example of this mingling of past and present. I make all of my candles by hand, much like Victorians would have made their own candles at home. I infuse my candles with my special Victorian-inspired essential oil blends, creating magical scents that dance around my studio as I pour the wax, giving my love and attention to each and every candle along the way.
Like the Victorians, I make my candles using braided cotton wicks. Back then, they chose cotton wicks because they burned cleaner, creating less soot/smoke and a longer-lasting candle. The same is still true now, which is why I followed their example in using cotton wicks for my candles today!
During the 19th century (and even earlier), candles were often made from whale oil. Later in the Victorian period, paraffin eventually became a popular option because it was affordable and easily accessible, which was a priority since candlelight was their primary light source for much of the period!
When it comes to my own candle wax, I take a deliberate departure from the Victorians and opt for an environmentally-friendly (and whale-friendly!!) option. For over a decade, I’ve been using 100% soy wax for my candle-making and I love it! All of the soybeans used in my candle wax are grown in the US and supports American farmers. I also love using soy wax because it burns very cleanly with almost no soot or smoke.
And, after years (yes, years!) of testing different types of wicks and waxes, I’ve found that cotton wicks and soy wax offer the best “scent throw”, which means you can enjoy even more of your favorite Willow & Birch candle scents!
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