Very few household items serve as many different purposes as candles. While a candle is an everyday commodity used for practical reasons, it is also an artful home décor accessory as well as an essential component in life’s celebrations and ceremonies from baptisms and birthdays to funerals. How did this seemingly simple object end up playing such an important role in our lives?
Fire has always been a key element for human survival, and it makes sense that it has both practical and symbolic significance to us. We revere fire as it also has the power to destroy us. The earliest known evidence of controlled fire dates back to Israel almost 800,000 years ago. The first forms of movable fire were used by Ancient Egyptians, who made rush lights and torches by soaking the pithy core of reeds in melted animal fat. The first true wicked candles weren’t developed until around 3,000 BC by Ancient Romans by dipping rolled papyrus repeatedly in melted tallow or beeswax. Other civilizations created their own candles from available materials such as insect wax in China and cinnamon tree in Japan.
Throughout history, humans have experimented with different sources of wax for candles: tallow wax from leftover kitchen fats, beeswax, bayberry wax, spermaceti (from sperm whale oil), and later, stearin, paraffin and soybean wax. A candle-molding machine invented in the 19th century enabled mass production of candles. However, with the introduction of the light bulb in 1879, candle making began to decline.
The popularity of candles saw a rise in the 1980’s when people became interested in them as decorative objects, gifts, and ways to set an atmosphere.
With its roots in the element of fire, known for its power to both create and destroy, a candle symbolizes love and hope, light and warmth, celebration and commemoration. Though we no longer need candles to illuminate our surroundings, we hold on to their meaning as an expression of joy, reverence and reflection. Rituals abound to this day. In Christianity, a lit candle represents the divine light of God. In a marriage ceremony, two taper candles represent the two individuals, and a solid pillar their coming together in a union. Lighting a candle for the deceased signifies that their memory lives on and burns bright. Blowing out candles on a birthday cake goes back to an old belief that smoke will carry our wishes and prayers to the heavens. Each culture has their own spin on the traditions – it’s the ritual of lighting a candle itself that matters.
More and more, candles have also evolved into a sensual experience, a way to soothe our senses, spark romance, reconnect with our roots and signify a desire for a quieter and more meaningful way of life. What do you value in your life? Light a candle today to celebrate a moment that matters, a connection you treasure, or a person you love.
Our lives today are busier and more distracted than ever. Let’s admit it: too often we find ourselves taking a phone call or checking our Instagram account while we’re supposed to be enjoying quality time with our loved ones. How many family meals regularly get interrupted by our phones buzzing and someone staring at their little screen? Be honest.
We’ve decided to make a concerted effort to put all the distractions away and dedicate dinner time to nothing but family. Nothing brings a family closer more than sharing a meal together.
To make these moments even more special, we think it’s a great idea to take some time to set the table beautifully. A warm, glowing candle at the center of it all evokes the perfect atmosphere for a loving homemade meal. It’s easy, it’s simple, and it makes such a difference. It lets everyone know that dinner time is important, family is worth celebrating, and those gathered around the table are special to you.
Placing one or two small candles on stands at the table is a nice way to achieve a homey everyday family meal atmosphere (try our graceful cats or sweet owls). A single column candle in a sturdy candle holder will do the same. You will be surprised to see the effect just lighting a candle will have on making an ordinary meal feel more intimate and meaningful.
For more festive occasions, go bigger: pillar candles of varying heights and sizes on a metal or mirror tray, a grouping of elegant tapers in different textures in tall candle holders, or candles sculpted into special shapes to celebrate an event or gathering. Different colors have their own significance: darker, dramatic colors are usually considered festive and romantic, while lighter, more subtle hues bring forth feelings of joy.
We strongly feel that 100% pure beeswax candles are the best choice to burn around mealtime. With no added scent, they are ideal for the dinner table when you don’t want fragrance to interfere with the aroma of the food. Another important point too often ignored: typical paraffin-based candles contain carcinogenic chemicals. Beeswax is non-toxic, non-allergenic, and purifies the air. Not only should mealtime nourish you and connect you to your loved ones, it should take place in a clean, healthy environment.
You’ll find an abundance of inspiration for your dinner table in our collection of contemporary 100% pure beeswax candles. As you plan the next meal, whether for your family or for a big celebration such as Passover or Easter, make sure to include candles as a functional centerpiece to invoke the right atmosphere. It lets everyone know it’s time to let go of distractions and sit down to savor the moment.
Today we announce the launch of our new color. Looking for a fresh start, we decided to develop a clean and pure hue. Isolde (our new nude color) is a subtle blush - see above. Available in all our tapers, it is the perfect color for a wedding, dinner party or special event. Shop our web site and enjoy a 10% discount when you check out with code: THANKS2017
We love to set mood with dark hues of smoky gray and steely black. From a relaxing lounge to a thoughtful dinner party, dark shades evoke poetic beauty. We invite you to celebrate the season with sophistication. Through November and December enjoy free shipping on all orders over $50.00. Enter PROMO CODE: USA16 to receive 10% off your entire order!
"A color is as strong as the impression it creates." Ivan Albright
Greentree's Words of Wisdom: Summer is a time to kick back and enjoy life. It is an opportunity to spend time with adored family and friends or perhaps, alone with a good book. Travel, swim, fish, hike, paint, garden, dance......every day. Happy Summer to YOU!
Set in the western foothills of the Catskill Mountains, Jenifer Green’s studio is a place of industrious attitudes. Spools of wicks hang on pipes and are feed through scores of pale purple molds that are lined up and ready to receive liquid beeswax to form her company's many sculptural renderings. Just outside the studio, the air is teaming with the sweet and damp scent of spring. Green reflects “ We love to open the front doors in the warm weather, but soon become invaded by honey bees and birds. They are drawn by the sweet aroma of the beeswax”.
Treadwell is a quiet hamlet located just 14 miles from Delhi, NY and provides the perfect setting for productive work. For Green and her team of makers, the rolling landscape, the vast swipe of liquid blue sky and the occasional cry of a nearby cow or goat all provide an inspiring work environment. Each morning the tight knit crew constructs a production plan based on colors, styles and quantities. The Greentree Home collection of hand poured pure beeswax candles is offered at high-end retailers throughout the USA and Canada as well as the company’s web site.
“My work is all about form and function. Both are so important to me. A candle is a sensory object.” Green strives to balance the virtues of the burning experience with the use of a pure material in all of her designs. She adds, "The hand made process is essential and allows for total control of the quality.” Green credits her success to a keen focus on her vision for the company."I feel that creativity is the lifeblood that makes our everyday lives spectacular. The objects and candles we produce in our studio are expressions of who we are and define our creativity and imagination."
Interview with Tim Trescott, a North Carolina beekeeper.
I have been in the bee business all my life. I am a third generation.
We work directly with only US Beekeepers, and US only. This is a bit more labor intensive as we ourselves are doing the collection and not the beekeepers, but the quality of wax is generally higher this way. Domestic beeswax is also collected and processed different than, say, African beeswax.
Since we work domestically, we are able to directly with the beekeepers, and we maintain relationships with beekeepers across the country. Since the wax can only be extracted by also extracting the honey, it’s sort of an all hands on deck operation.
I keep it simple and usually just wear a khaki shirt with jeans and then a bee veil. A classic beekeeper-uniform, one could say.
As mentioned, the wax only comes from extracting the honey, since the wax is what seals the honey in the hive. Capping wax is the best type, though- it’s the super-finewax seal on the top, as opposed the the wax within the comb. The capping wax is the most pure, and- not surprisingly, the hardest and most expensive to obtain.
We travel as far as the Dakotas, summertime is usually the best time to travel- for the obvious reason of travelling logistics, and also the fact that bees are generally more active during this time of year..
Yes, I find that the wax is based on the floral source it comes from. Some southern waxes work better for going to an ivory color. The smell also depends on the floral source as well. The quality, color, and scent is affected with each stage of collection. African beeswax, for example, is often collected by blowing black smoke into the hives, which in turn changes the color and scent of the wax from that point forward.
Collecting wax does not affect the bees- it’s kind of like pruning a plant. Of course you don’t want to prune the entire bush, but cutting it back a bit won’t harm the plant in the slightest and can actually be beneficial for its productivity as an organism.. Each hive of bees only produces about 1 to 2 lbs of wax per year. The wax is depending on the amount of honey that is produced.
We are hobbyists at this time, running about 20 hives of bees. in the past we used to run as many as 800.
I would have to say the strangest thing people have used beeswax for is either as gum or hair removal.
No, It is a fairly standard business. The industry has experienced more notoriety, though, in the past few years thanks to the push for environmental awareness and bee scarcity.
The favorite part of the job is taking crude wax and getting it back into a nice yellow beeswax for candle making.
My advice to someone interested in the industry is that it not for the weak of heart. It is a hard job, literally, working with the bees, but it so enjoyable. It’s a lot of learning by doing.
Words: Caroline Noonan
Join us for the first Remodelista New York City Market, held at the Canvas Home showroom in lower Manhattan. Stop in over the weekend for a bit of pre-spring shopping and to mingle with great makers. We hope to see you there!
WHAT: Remodelista NYC Market at Canvas Home
WHEN: Saturday, March 12th, 10AM to 7PM, and Sunday, March 13th, 10AM – 6PM
WHERE: 123 West 17th Street, NYC, 10011
More than 40 local artisans from the New York region, plus a few from farther afield, will be showcasing their homewares, clothing, jewelry, organic botanicals, gourmet foodstuffs, and more. Here’s a preview of who you’ll find:
|2 NOTE||GREENTREE HOME||ÖR GALLERY AND TAVERN|
|ANZU NEW YORK||HAWKINS NEW YORK||POST O’ALLS|
|APOTHEKE||HUDSON MADE||RAND PAPELE|
|AUNTIE OTI||ILĀ||REBECCA ATWOOD|
|BARTLEBY OBJECTS||JEN COGLIANTRY HANDMADE||RICHARD WATSON|
|BLACK POINT MERCANTILE||KELLI CAIN CERAMICS||SALT CELLAR SHOP|
|CHELSEA MILLER KNIVES||LE BOUTON||SIN|
|DAR GITANE||LURU HOME||SOOR PLOOM|
|DARA ARTISANS||MALFATTI GLASS||STUDIO CARTA|
|DEBORAH EHRLICH||MOHINDERS||THE EVERYDAY NAPKIN|
|DOMI||MOONTREE LETTERPRESS||THOMPSON STREET STUDIO|
|FELT + FAT||MURIEL FAVARO||TWO|
|FREDERICKS AND MAE||NATHAN MILLER CHOCOLATE||WMS. & CO.|
|GOODS WE LOVE||ODETTE WILLIAMS||YUKO NISHIKAWA|
Not all beeswax is created equal- only 100% pure beeswax candles are non-toxic and air-purifying. In fact, many conventional “beeswax” candles are actually produced by melting down all parts of the honeycomb, rather than the super-fine wax seal on its top called capping wax, and may even contain fillers such as petroleum. Capping wax is what is most desirable when it comes to candle making as it’s the most pure.
Knowing this, it really makes sense that you get what you pay for when it comes to beeswax candles. Beeswax candles made exclusively from capping wax have the ability to pull out dust and toxins from the air.
Beeswax candles have a naturally long burn time without any synthetic additives. And while burning candles certainly isn’t rocket science, there is some science behind the flame, so we thought we’d give you some tricks of the trade to get even better and longer burns from your Greentree Home Candle.
Just remember, folks, that we’re dealing with an open flame and hot wax- so burn wisely. Never leave your candles burning unattended, and please don’t try to adjust the wick or the wax while your candle is still hot!
As they can cause uneven burns and dripping. Use a snuffer as well- it will help to prevent spills. Though pure beeswax is virtually dripless in the right environment, it’s pretty inevitable that spills happen. Just save any excess wax to be tossed back into the mix once you have a big pool- it’ll act as extra fuel.
Aside from the obvious safety factor of this pointer, it will also help to ensure that your flame burns evenly and symmetrically.
Make sure your wick is not too long-the larger the wick, the less efficient the candle will burn. We try our best to trim the wick to optimal length before leaving the shop, but some slip under the radar a bit longer than we’d like! With this we say use your best judgement on any necessary trimming- usually about ¼ of an inch. Once the right length, start by lighting at the wick’s base and wait until both the wick has ignited and a small pool of wax has begun to form.
Allow the candle to burn until the pool of melted wax has almost reached the outside of the candle, usually about 2-3 hours after it’s been lit. Blow it out once your candle has reached this point and allow the wax to firm up before re-lighting. This will help to prevent the occurrence of tunnelling.
Not literally. This is candle speak for pushing the soft wax inwards towards the wick. Hugging is just another way to get the most out of your wax, and is usually only necessary on larger candles such as our pillars or jumbo cones. It’s best to do this once you’ve allowed the wax to harden, just before re-lighting it. Just be sure to push the wax inward slowly, as you don’t want to suffocate your wick
Words: Caroline Noonan Images: Rachel Watson