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A Tangible Challenge: Candles

This blog post is part of a new series called “A Tangible Challenge” where each month I take one in-person class related to something I know nothing about. The goal is to step outside my comfort zone and create something new. I am so excited to share this month’s endeavor: candles. (Read January’s adventure in pottery; February’s adventure in plants; March’s adventure in mosaic art lamps; or April’s adventures in dumplings here.)

This is a delayed post and because of that, some of my mental images of the class may be slightly ajar. I’ll do my best to recollect and take this as an important lesson on not waiting so long to record memories. What I do clearly remember, though, is the day I walked past 2nd Chance Candles in Astoria, Queens. 

It was the day I moved into my new apartment. My partner was following behind with the movers so I’d come to the apartment early. A heavy backpack with two computers. A home I couldn’t quite get into yet. To hold back some of my frantic energy, I decided to wander. In this wandering, I passed 2nd Chance Candles. “Oh I’m walking past an adorable candle store” I told my mom on the phone, “wait… they do classes!”

That’s how, a month later, I found myself exchanging messages with Lisa, the founder of the 2nd Chance. My former colleague and I signed up.

Upon entering Lisa’s studio, you’re immediately overwhelmed with creativity. Creativity and beauty. I was a hair early so I spent some time looking at the artwork, the candles, and the free prints created by a local artist. I took a couple cards to put in with Mother’s Day gifts. 

When class began, we were instructed to pick a vessel. We both chose a small blue ramekin with a white floral pattern under the premise of using it for ice cream and fruit cobbler once the candle had burned through. Then, Lisa showed us how to test different scents and use a small canister of coffee beans to cleanse our nasal passages in between scent mixing. When our noses got too muddled, we stepped outside into the crisp air for a reset. 

We measured our wax, placed our wicks, and even picked out special gemstones with extra meanings. I put a small circle of red obsidian around my candle. It’s supposed to symbolize or encourage growth, creativity, and passion. (Within the gem set, I had originally wanted fluorite for its reference to focus, creativity, and connection, but that, apparently, can be toxic so it was a no go.) 

I was instructed to wait at least 2 weeks before lighting to let the candle and scents set. But you can bet nearly every day since those 2 weeks have passed, I have lit my candle and been totally delighted by the fact that I made that! My “flavor” was an earthy mix of palo santo, sandalwood, oak moss, amber, and black current absinthe… with the tiniest whisper of lavender driftwood.  

As regular readers of the blog know, this wasn’t my only candle class this month. As part of my Birthday Giveback campaign, I attended another candle workshop with Gisela Andre from Scent by Heaven. You can read more about that in our recent post. I’m still waiting my 2 weeks to light that sweet pecan apple candle. 

May was my first “double class” month and it was a fun coincidence that it happened to be in the same artform. Each class taught me something new and allowed me to tap into my creativity. The experience of being in community and learning new skills is such a gift and something this little monthly challenge has continued to remind me of. 


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