by Katherine Lampson
Alicia cleans the weights from the previous batch and ties the wicks for the next 42 pairs of hand-dipped beeswax candles. The wicks are then hung onto 14 hangers and onto a revolving wheel, all custom made. She double-checks that each pair is level.
Next, the weighted wicks are dipped in rotation. After a handful of dips the candles are strong enough to manage without weights. Alicia removes them from the hangers and I cut off the weights (this is the most satisfying moment for Alicia) and reshape the wax at the bottom before rehanging them. Dipping continues until the candles reach the required diameter.
When they are cool, Alicia takes them down and I smooth the bottoms on a domestic iron. All the melt-off goes back into the dipping pot. When we refill the dipping pot (usually a couple of times in each rotation) we use a gauze-lined sieve to filter out any impurities. We also need to be really mindful of the temperatures of both wax and the workshop to avoid blisters and rippling.
After quality control, they are labelled and put in a box marked with the date and candle size. Alicia and I have created this system together over the last two years. The result is a perfect symbiosis of our strengths and preferences. We love our work. For me, the highlight is when we get out the coloured wax for some rainbow magic!