Candle Making From An Ethical and Indigenous Framework
By Natalie Villeneuve
I became a candle maker a few years ago when my own habit of burning candles was becoming unsustainable. Since I come from a crafty family, I figured I should experiment with making my own supply, and my first batch of candles turned out so well that I’ve continued to make them ever since. As of July 2023, I became a vendor at Maker’s Market, marking the official beginning of my candle making business!
I aspire to make my candles as ethically as possible by using as many naturally-sourced products as I can, buying my supplies from a local business, and reusing second-hand jars for all of my candles. Nature is healing, and so I hand pick flowers and foliage to press into my candles, and I love how the botanicals stay pressed against the glass even as the candle burns to the bottom. I hope that by bringing a little piece of the Earth into your home, I can help create a warm ambiance that fills your space with nourishment and calm.
In recent years, I’ve been on a personal and professional journey of incorporating more Indigenous ways of knowing into my life. I aim to co-exist with Mother Nature in a way that is respectful, and this lens guides how I pick the plants for my candles. For example, I try to find flowers that have fallen naturally, or that there is an abundance of so that I am
not taking scarce resources. When I do pick botanicals from the plant, I “ask” before taking, which I’ve learned how to do from Elders and from Robin Wall Kimmerer in her book Braiding Sweetgrass. This means that I never rip off parts of the plant (I cut them gently with my fingernail or scissors), and if the plant is resistant to letting go, then I will leave it. (Imagine the difference between someone pulling vs. cutting your hair! Plants are living beings and must be treated as such).
I hope that others can feel the positive energy that I have put into each unique candle that I create. In a world of stressors like climate change, political turmoil, and financial pressures, I hope to create a candle that is affordable, environmentally-friendly, and decolonized. This is why I am excited to also offer my candles in exchange for goods or services, if you have anything that you wish to trade! Or, maybe you are interested in learning to make your own candles, and so I am happy to host a candle making workshop out of your home or mine.
If my candles can bring any amount of joy to your life, then my business has been a success!