Our path through history is lit with candles. Many say that this humble homeware accessory originates with the Ancient Egyptians who once soaked the pithy core of reeds in melted animal fat to create rushlights, while others say that the Romans ought to be credited with its invention as they repeatedly dipped rolled papyrus into melted tallow or beeswax, creating a candle complete with a wick in 3,000BC. Used to light homes, aid travellers and enhance religious ceremonies, the candle has long been a part of humanity’s story.
Cut to 2017 and candles are everywhere: in the bargain baskets in every checkout line, and in almost every bathroom and living room with thanks to large chain-store corporations making candles an affordable luxury for every income bracket – but just because they are affordable, does this mean we ought to buy them? Birch & Brook are proof that the simple answer, is no.
The reason why so many candles are so inexpensive these days is because so many are made with potentially harmful chemicals that can damage both our health and the environment. Birch & Brook, on the other hand, are one instance of an artisanal company using 100% natural wax for their candles, which are made from GM free and certified vegan ingredients, with completely natural fibre wicks. Birch & Brook also name many of their scents after rooms instead of plants, giving a gentle nod to the candles’ rich and romantic history of illuminating homes and, therefore, the lives lived around them.
From the religious lighting of candles during Hanukkah since the second century BC, to the practical street lamplighters of the 19th century and the decorative candles of the next, a view of history by candlelight reveals all of the intricacies that make up our culture at large. So next time you strike a match you may be leaving a trace of your life that one day, perhaps, someone might look back on in a future far, far away.
Birch & Brook will be taking part in the Selvedge Christmas Fair at Mary Ward House in Kings Cross, London, this December 2nd. To find out more information and to purchase your ticket to the event, click here.
To further explore the relationship between light and textiles in Astrid Krogh's luminescent textile design, pick up a copy of the new Luna issue of Selvedge or order your copy here.