This week I think I’m going to give everything up and become a candle chandler, and it’s all Rachel Vosper’s fault (above)
Rachel invited us to a morning of candle making at her cute Kinnerton Street artisan workshop and store (behind Harvey Nichols and conveniently close to Egg) and it was one of those mornings when the sun shone, everything seemed right with the world and the store was filled with amazing aromas. I mean, what’s not to love? To add to the inspiring atmosphere, Rachel uses vintage cabinets like the one below to hold all her candle making stuff. I tried to buy it off her but she wasn’t having it….
And you don’t need a lot of room to make nice candles, just a medium sized workshop and a lovely antique oak table. Oh, and a well qualified assistant chandler like Corina on hand to guide you and politely correct all your mistakes…
You can be very neat and tidy, as candles aren’t that complex to construct, and you can indulge in lots of fabulous accessories, like Rachel’s kitchen ladle collection, which she uses to carefully distribute the wax, lovely denim pinnies, stripped wood floors and vintage mirrors. I SO should be an candle chandler.
Rachel uses a quality blend of paraffin and bees wax which she melts down in these converted tea urns below. Fragrance is added (again a mix of naturals and synthetics, natural essential oils have a habit of burning off too quickly and synthetics have stability and longevity) and then there’s a three part pouring ritual to achieve a perfect candle that will burn beautifully. Rachel’s an excellent teacher and makes it seem very easy, but years of experience (15) have gone into her achieving her skills and explain why she has such an adoring client base.
I thought all scented candles pretty much did the same thing, but that’s before I burned one of Rachel’s Choisya ones, her best selling fragrance, the smell was amazingly long lasting and rich, we’re talking a quality smell.
I was also taught a bit of wick etiquette: if you leave a long wick, when lit the candle will heat up fast and fragrance a room more quickly -perfect if you have forgotten to light your candles before someone you want to impress comes around. But for a more wide-spreading and longer lasting fragrance, snip the wick shorter and light the candle earlier. Also freezing will remove any excess wax off candlesticks or clothing.
A very cool idea is the refill service Rachel offers. This allows you to take any suitable vessel in to the store and they will fill it up with your favourite scented wax, which, if you are like me and always finding decorative vintage-y jars and vases at junk sales, might allow you a whole new angle on your Christmas and Birthday gift planning. Wouldn’t that make the nicest present?
If you fancy learning how to be a candle chandler, there are courses run in the workshop, details here. In fact Rachel has suggest we run one with her for our readers, so if this appeals, let us know in the comments below and we’ll see if we can set one up before Christmas. I have a Martha Moments feature coming on the waxed Christmas decorations Rachel demonstrated too, but that’s too much excitement for one day so I’m saving that until nearer the festive season.
It’s not just us loving Rachel’s chandlery work either, the team at Club Monaco have persuaded her to open in tiny store within the soon-to-be-opened London flagship in Sloane Square, where everyone will sniff her lovely candles and inevitably rave about them. We’re just keeping you ahead of the loop here at TWR.
More details on Rachel’s candles and services on the website here.