Who knew candlemaking took that long?

It's not often people are welcomed into an artisan's studio to view works in progress while they make their purchases...

NORTHERN LIGHTS CANDLES is owned by Donalda Lauzon

It’s not often people are welcomed into an artisan’s studio to view works in progress while they make their purchases.

But that’s exactly what happens five days a week at Northern Lights Candles in Fanny Bay. And, if visitors are lucky, they may get to dip their own candle.

On Friday, the chandlery celebrated five years of creating high-quality, long-burning candles, all lovingly crafted by hand.

“Tapers are my favourite,” admits Donalda Lauzon, owner and principal candlemaker. “They’re so elegant and provide such a nice glow.”

Lauzon worked at St. Joseph’s Hospital for 19 years before taking early retirement to enter the candle business.

To find a cozy chandlery tucked away on a rural property was a surprise. To discover how much effort goes into a single candle was even more so.

Who knew a standard 10-inch taper can involve more than 50 dips in hot wax?

“The wax is affected by the weather, air pressure and how warm the air is,” explains Lauzon. “Some days I’ve dipped a taper 100 times and the wax just won’t build up. Over time I learned to do something different on those days.”

The studio is a rainbow of coloured candles with each colour also

hand-crafted on site.

“I start with a primary colour — they come in very fine powders — and beat it into the wax by hand,” she says. “I mix and match the powders until I get what I want. It can be tricky as the colour changes as the wax cures.

“Creating colours is a real science.”

Lauzon focused on wholesale production the first two years but, as she got a feel for craft, began playing with patterns and colours. Now, up to 70 per cent of her work is custom-made.

Some are embellished with leaves, coffee beans or other ornamentation. Her most popular item to date is the Sea to Sky pillar. This hand-poured candle is created in layers with the finished product resembling a West Coast landscape.

As well as the candles, which come in all shapes, sizes, colours and luscious scents or fragrance-free, I was intrigued by the candle-making machines.

One, which makes 200 votives at a time, was built in China in 1936. Another converts 45 gallons of hot wax into 92 stick candles, while a separate device allows the operator to dip a series of lead-free wicks into vats of molten wax to create tapers.

As Lauzon removes an old quilt from what she calls the Big Dipper, another machine with 15 pots of gorgeous colour, I learn just what a slow, thoughtful process candle-making can be.

“When you’re hand-dipping to add colour you have to let the candle cure between each dip,” Lauzon says. “A multi-coloured candle can take four days.”

Northern Lights Candles also hosts workshops, as well as a variety of You Dip Parties and fund-raising options. In Victoria, Boys Scouts sold fire starters made from old wax and wicks to raise money for one of their projects.

One of my best finds at Northern Lights Candles was the online Tips and Care page. This section provides all the information you need to prevent unevenly burning candles and puddles of wax all over the furniture.

As a convenience to shoppers, Northern Lights Candles offers online shopping, with the bonus of no shipping charge aside from a $5 handling fee.

But if you really want to save — and see how your candles are made — visit the studio.

The studio is located at 415 Station Rd., home to the Lauzon family for 25 years. If travelling from Courtenay, turn right at the Fanny Bay wharf.

Northern Lights Candles is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment on Sundays and Mondays.

For more information, visit www.nlcandles.com, phone 250-335-0485 or 1-888-335-0485 (toll free) or e-mail info@nlcandles.com.

Paula Wild is a published author and regular contributor to the Comox Valley Record’s arts and entertainment section. www.paulawild.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Sid Williams Theatre marquee is once again proudly displaying upcoming events. Photo supplied
Courtenay’s Sid Williams Theatre reopening in a limited capacity

The Sid Williams Theatre Society spent many months since March’s forced closure… Continue reading

The mural proposed for the side of the building. Image, Village of Cumberland report
Cumberland council calls for more mural designs

Designs for wall are holding up the building permit process

Rotary District 5020 president Rod McKenzie (in chair) agreed to test out the CVCDA ramp and experience it from the perspective of an individual who relies on a wheelchair to get around. McKenzie is being prepped by Comox Valley Wheelchair Sports Society president Stephane Roy. Submitted by CVCDA
Accessibility the focus of Comox Valley Child Development Association Telethon

The Comox Valley Child Development Association Telethon will look markedly different this… Continue reading

Calling All People: The Story of TemPeSt Grace Gale is currently in the post-production phase. Screengrab photo
‘A beautiful, inspiring person’: Hornby artist featured posthumously in film

The island’s only homicide continues to be a cold case more than 10 years later

Skiers line up to start the Royal LePage Comox Valley Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race. Photo by Tim Penney
Popular Comox Valley adventure race cancelled for 2021

COVID forces Comox Valley Royal LePage Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race cancellation again

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

École de L’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
B.C. records first COVID-19 outbreak at school, six weeks after students return to class

Three cases of the virus have been identified at École de L’Anse-au-sable

Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau is seen as she leaves media event during a campaign stop in West Vancouver, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green leader hopes voters see value in minority government

The Greens received nearly 17 per cent of the popular vote in 2017 yet received just three seats

Local candidates Pam Alexis, Abbotsford-Mission, and Preet Rai, Abbotsford-West, look on as NDP Leader John Horgan main streets in Abbotsford, B.C., Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. NDP takes snap election risk during pandemic in quest for majority government

Green Leader Sonia Furstenau said the election was unnecessary and irresponsible during the pandemic

Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, B.C., on October 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. Liberal Leader maintains confidence as campaign tests party identity

Liberal campaign has been disrupted by controversy

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Most Read