How to Make a Candle Underwater
Feu, Fire, and Eau, Water: two contradicting elements, both possibly destructive. Yet, our friends Wendy and Jo of Le Feu De L’Eau have brought the two gracefully in harmony with their scented candles (hint: they’re made under water). The result is beautiful one-of-a-kind votives, that is more accurately described as ‘art’ or ‘sculptures.” Zady gets an inside look with the two co-founders into their special candle making process.
ZADY: Tell us about your name, Le Feu de L'eau.
Wendy Polish, Jo Strettell: Le Feu De L'Eau translates to The Fire Of Water. We knew that we wanted to represent the elements of water and fire in the name of our brand, but it read too simple - not sophisticated. We experimented with various languages until it was said in French. It then sounded and looked beautiful to us. We felt it represented the candle the way we wanted it to.
Z: We are curious about your under-water candle-making process. Can you walk us through it?
WP, JS: Our first step is hand mixing our eco-friendly dye to the desired color. Heat the wax to a high temperature. Fill up our very large tank of water. Pour both elements of dye and wax into the water very slowly. Once the dye and wax hit the water we use a tool that helps extrude the wax underwater into a 3 ft. hollow wax tube. This is how we create the beautiful vertical mono-chromatic stripes and organic forms of our candles. We cut all the tubes down to our 4" candle size. Then we make it a wax container by adhering a wax bottom. The last steps are wicking and filling every candle with our custom fragrance and soy wax.
Z: How long does it take to make each candle?
WP, JS: Because of our hand made process we make our candles in color batches of 500 at a time. So its hard to calculate how long for one candle. From beginning to end every candle gets passed through 5 separate sets of hands in our studio. I would estimate 10-20 minutes per candle excluding the hours it takes for the wax to cool down and set.
Z: How do you source your materials and fragrances?
WP, JS: All of our raw materials are sourced in the USA. With the exception of some of our fragrances that get imported from France.
Z: Your inspiration boards are lovely. Tell us about your creative development process.
WP, JS: Thank you! Our inspiration boards are a very important tool in our creative process. This is a place for us to contemplate and conceive our fragrant notes and color pallet for every season. Our inspiration boards start to take on a life of its own…the collection of visual ideas start to guide us and give us creative boundaries. The culmination of our visual research is a blueprint for our final decisions with fragrance and color.
Z: How you come up with your scent blends?
WP, JS: The conception of our fragrance is a intuitive experience. We experiment with oils and fragrance in our studio. Every fragrance is inspired by the color of the candle and our inspiration boards. For example, the Le Feu Violet candle: Grapefruit & Tobacco was inspired by Elizabeth Taylor and her eyes. This particular scent was grounded in feminine notes of citrus and balanced with mahogany woods. This scent is among the most sophisticated and complex of our collection.
Z: Your candles are like art pieces. Do you have a muse? Who do you celebrate?
WP, JS: Ultimately our process is our muse. Making underwater wax sculptures is new and innovative. So in return we find guidance from art, film, fashion, photography and nature. To create our seasonal candle and think of new ideas for our brand.
Z: There is something quiet and contemplative about a lit candle, which is a nice pause in our busy lives. Do you have a favorite time and place you like to light yours, and why?
WP, JS: We always have our candles lit in the studio while we are working. But they are most enjoyable at home in the evening when its time to wind down and take a bath.
Z: Looking back at where you were when you started this journey, where did you think it was going to lead you?
WP, JS: We are pretty good at trying to stay in the moment. The last thing neither of us wanted to do is create huge expectations for the brand. We were too concerned with producing a functional product with beauty and integrity. We are very pleased with how our product has been perceived.
Z: What have been some unexpected benefits or delights?
WP, JS: One of the most rewarding aspects of our business is meeting new people. Our brand has been a catalyst to new relationships across the globe. We genuinely enjoy working with our buyers and meeting the other artists at events and trade shows. We are inspired by our community and grateful for all our new found friendships.