Customised candles and soaps

Customised candles and soaps

For the elite and aware in Delhi these days, the buzzword is handcrafted. Two artefacts specially, which used to be a part of ordinary groceries purchased in every household each month, have now been elevated to the status of ‘objects of health and pleasure.’

Candles and soaps – till recently, mass manufactured and mass purchased – are now being lovingly made at home; classes to train people in these are mushrooming by the dozen and hundreds of creative enthusiasts are joining them as well.

Sunita Bhasin has been training people in several arts at her immensely popular Craft and Social Development Organisation (CSDO), Lajpat Nagar, for the past 20 years now.

However, she started candle making classes only recently. She informs Metrolife, “There was a time when we would think of candles only when the lights would go out. Today, candles are not just for power outages but for interior decoration, aromatherapy, meditation, spiritual healing and what not. Commercial establishments like restaurants and spas are using them especially, leading to the growth of a whole industry around handcrafted candles.”

So what is it that makes handcrafted candles so much better than the factory produced ones? Sunita says, “The mass manufactured candles have a low quality wax with high oil content which results in quick burn out. On the other hand, when making your own candles, you can buy a better grade longer lasting wax. Also, handcrafted candles use smokeless wicks which cause less pollution, and with a larger diameter, they don’t drip and dirty the area. However, the best part about them remains their beauty. You can colour them as per your wish, add aromatic oils, spices, flower petals, anything. Just let your creativity fly.”

Seema Kaul who runs candle making classes in Saket is enchanted by the shapes that wax can take. She says, “Sky is the limit. All you need is moulds to make taper candles, pillar candles, floating candles, votive candles, T-lights and what not. These days, with gel wax, you can do candle gardening which is basically layering it with glass toys, pictures and embellishments – all of which show through. These are a big hit during festivals like Diwali and I get lots of people keen on learning the art as a hobby as well as for small-time business.”

Handcrafted soap, and the craft of making it, is another hit with health conscious urbane Delhiites. Almost all upmarket stores today are stocking them besides the base material to make them at home. Usha Gandhi of Shagun School of Creative Arts says, “In the West, handcrafted soaps have been popular for long. In India, people have gradually come to know of it through sojourns abroad, talk in the media and recommendations by doctors. Factory produced soaps use a lot of caustic soda, which is bad for the skin, while in handmade soaps, you can control the measure of soda and add things like neem, tulsi and eucalyptus oil.”

Designer soaps have also emerged as a favourite whereby you can put in a picture of your beloved on the soap and gift him or her the same. Sunita Bhasin, who also makes these soaps, says, “I get many youngsters who want to learn making candles and soaps for their beloved. Then there are kids, corporates and housewives wanting to learn something different. The industry has come a long way from the time when only disempowered women took up the craft to earn a living.”

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