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The art of candle carving

Did you know that candles have been used as a source of light since 4 BC?

Picture 1800’s Europe: as the practice of mold making was expanding to allow for a variety of shapes and sizes, many methods in candle making were simultaneously being developed. One traditional method that carried forward to present day was first seen in Germany and Holland: the process of dipping layers and carving ornate designs into hot wax. This method created the earliest carved candles, known today as “Cut and Curl” Candles. The traditional technique of candle carving would involve colorful and ribbon-like layers cut into strips, and adhered back onto the candle. Certain tricks with engraving, folding, and scoring add elegant touches to a finely embellished candle.

With respect for this entire process, the artists of Sedona Candle Magic have expanded on the fundamental basics of the traditional technique, pushing the medium and overall art form to a new frontier.

Our designs begin life as solid brick of 100% pure paraffin wax. Paraffin is a byproduct of the petroleum refinement process. Paraffin, once extracted, can be further refined and purified into a wax, that when melted, is as clear as water and transmits light extremely well. We use only 100% food-grade Paraffin wax in our candles

The paraffin bricks are melted into a liquid state and poured into a variety of molds, which when cooled and cracked create the core shapes we use in all of our candle designs.

The artisan then hand dips these cores into dyed layers of paraffin wax. The cores are dipped in special sequences to ensure a bright, impeccable glow effect. Our artists, trained in candle specific color theory, utilize translucent shades and a variety of dipping techniques create color gradients, rainbow spectrum's, and color changes--all with simple wax.

After building up the layers of hot wax, the candle is immediately carved before losing essential temperate pliability. It is not possible to reheat the layers, and depending on the size of the candle, the artist will have anywhere from 5-15 minutes to cut and sculpt the entire design!

Being inspired by many types of engraving designs, our artists create a large variety of themed compositions for you, your friends, and family to enjoy for years to come. Sedona Candle Magic encourages the inventiveness and creative freedom of all of our trained artists, lending to a wide variety of designs and styles to choose from.

THe History of candle making

The earliest candles first appeared in the early Roman and Egyptian eras. These candles were made of tallow, a material refined from animal fat from sheep or cattle. Tallow had a foul odor when burned, and did not burn very well. In early China, candles were made from refined whale fat, and other societies had varying sources of tallow for their early candles.

Due to the scarcity of materials and the arduous process of making candles during these eras, candles were used primarily for religious or ceremonial purposes. Oil-based lamps such as olive oil, animal-based oils or other types were the primary light sources.

Candles making surged in popularity after the fall of the Roman Empire, when olive oil, the most common oil lamp fuel became scarce. In the middle ages, tallow candles became unpopular as the production of them in large quantities produced odors so noxious it was banned in major cities.

Beeswax made its European introduction around this time as a source of wax (the Chinese had started using beeswax sometime before). Beeswax candles burned cleaner, brighter and longer, while ditching the odors of tallow-based candles. However, beeswax supply was limited, making these candles expensive.

 

 

In the 1800s, the whale oil industry exploded in size. Refiners discovered that spermaceti, an oil from whales, once refined, produced an odorless clean wax that made excellent candles. This allowed the candle industry to explode and become an everyday commodity for most households.

Then in the mid-1800s, the first paraffin wax was developed. By refining leftover residue from the petroleum refinement process and coal burning, chemists created a bluish-white material that could be formed into a wax. Because paraffin was a byproduct of other refinement processes, it was a cheap and easily mass produced material, and it quickly became the most popular wax for candle making. Candles could now be made in mass quantities, making them a cheap and affordable staple of everyday life.

However, as the electric light was invented and became the de facto light source of the industrialized world, candles plummeted in popularity, and transitioned into the decorative staple that we use today.

Today's candles come in a huge array of styles and materials, including: Paraffin, beeswax, palm oil wax, soy-based wax, coconut wax, as well as many other specialty materials.