Nareen waves her hand back and forth over the candle, the heat gun buzzing as hot air makes the surface of the candle return to liquid. During one of the final steps in finishing this candle–making sure the surface is perfectly smooth–the room is filled with the beautiful scent.
This is Nareen’s favorite part of making candles—that scent.
It’s easy for her to get lost in the moment when Nareen makes candles. It’s easy to remember the weeks she spent learning how to make candles from scratch at our maker space. It’s easy to remember how nervous she was to take the final test at the end of the training sessions, and how elated to learn that she demonstrated skill in candle making and was welcomed in as a partner.
Making candles helps Nareen forget many of the years that came before we met—years when she lost her parents and war drove her from her native Syria…twice. Making candles helps Nareen forget, for a moment, what it was like to start life all over again so far from home.
Nareen, like all of the makers we partner with, works hard to continuously improve her technique. Each visit to the candle studio, and each candle made, is an investment in her future.
“I love my job,” Nareen tells us with a smile, “and I love to develop more and more in this business…I feel proud of the job I do.” It shows in how she works—deliberate, patient, and methodical.
As we talk with Nareen, her colleague Newroz wraps finished candles at a nearby table. Across the hall, a few women cut out pieces of fabric to be sewn into cosmetic bags in the sewing studio. A few rooms down, two young women turn clay into mugs at the pottery studio. It’s powerful that Nareen has found more than a place to practice her craft, she’s found a community—women who love to create beautiful items, who have created a life for themselves after a civil war took everything away, and who are changing their stories…together.
“Nareen, what’s your favorite candle scent?” we ask, as our conversation comes to a close.
“Sunset!” Nareen answers with a smile.
You can buy one of Nareen’s candles in her favorite Sunset scent in a hand-carved wooden vessel or ruffled copper vessel through our shop. With the strike of a match, you can experience a little of the candle studio.