From a lifelike apple, bright pillars in gorgeous Neapolitan shades of ice cream, to shapes that pour colors from above like lava, the works of art created by Emma Cutrey and Ruby Canova are not your everyday candles.
What started as a hobby during the long lockdown in Melbourne soon grew into an online store and most recently a Blazed Wax how-to book.
“We lived together and always created a lot together. That’s one of the foundations of our friendship—we make mosaics, ceramics, and we paint life—so we thought, let’s get into candle making,” Kanawa says.
“We did a whole bunch. . . We also both own our own businesses, so selling this seemed like a natural next step. Then everything was sold out very quickly.”
The duo, who have been friends for 10 years, sought inspiration for their candles all over the world, in dusty books from secondhand shops to ships they bought in faraway lands.
“Favorite beautiful Mojak pieces handmade in Mexico. . . they’re sheets of wax molded into a shape, they’re so beautiful that there’s a project inspired by those in the book,” Cutrie says.
Not only do they share a studio and spend free time together, but they live and travel together, most recently to Greece, which inspired their Dreaming of Greece project.
If you’re scared of where to even start making candles, the book offers a complete guide on what you need, including dyes, scents, molds and wax for safety and other essential tools.
“It’s more than just a candle that you light (the one you made yourself), it’s a work of art, and you can make them quite sculptural,” Kanawa says.
“You don’t have to have a ton of money to do some of these projects, you can use what you already have and recycle.”
Here they share a project from their Blazed Wax book for you to try at home.
Aw Shucks tea light
Tealights are a classic in the world of candles. They have a fun and warm aesthetic and are just so cute. Tealights can be purchased in bulk at stores, but homemade tealights allow you to reuse the dishes many times over (which is much better for the environment). Also, you can use any shaped utensil like a sink!
We learned this idea from our dear friend Alice. It’s so easy and the candles look lovely spread out on a long table next to the seafood. Because they are so small, you can do a lot at once – try six or 10.
You can also place tea candles in glasses, jars and ceramics to protect them from drafts and create a lovely glow. Try using colored glassware for a really pretty look.
Making a candle
YOU NEED IT
- oyster shells (or other small vessels)
- coated wicks (suitable for a small candle)
- wick tabs (optional)
- wax of your choice (we use soy wax)
- essential oils of your choice (optional)
- To reuse your shells (or other vessels), simply pour boiling water over them until the wax is gone. Make sure you do it outside and not over the sink.
1. Clean and dry the oyster shells thoroughly – you don’t want a fishy smell! If you are adding essential oils, weigh your wax before you start determining the amount of oil, referring to the scents of your own instructions on page 49.
2. Trim the wicks to about 7 cm (2¾ inches). Glue the wick to the bottom of each sink using a wick tab or hot glue, making sure they are nice and straight. Place each shell in a container with dry rice or extra wax crumbs to keep them still and upright as you pour.
3. Melt the candle wax at the required temperature (refer to the temperature guide on page 21). You will only need to melt a small amount of wax as oyster shells are tiny. When the wax has cooled a bit, add any essential oils if you want scented candles.
4. Transfer the wax to a jug and carefully pour it into each shell. Secure the wicks in the center of the candles using a clothes pin or a wick straightener. Let sit for one hour and trim the wicks as needed.