Restaurants to hotels, fashion and interiors boutiques, everyone is now developing their own range of scented candles. I wouldn’t be surprised to find one stamped by the local butcher. It has to be said this object, though accessible, is not quite as engaging as perfume. And you can always manage to stick one around the house even if you’re not mad about its scent. Among the phenomenal quantity of scented candles available, Astier de Villatte, Diptyque or Cire Trudon in particular have the gift of upgrading the atmosphere in a room. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity of visiting the factory of one of the most gorgeous French wax makers, Cir, who make candles for Cire Trudon as well as a vast quantity of scented waxes for other very well known houses (whose names I can’t share with you).
Photographs by Ma Récréation
I’ve already mentioned Cire Trudon in MaRécréation’s Beauty Address Book. At the time, Cire Trudon was about to open a boutique in New York under the direction of Ramdane Touhami, who was behind the renaissance of this old brand from 2007 to 2011. Since his departure from the company, the Perche region based manufacture has continued to develop fluorescent candles, busts made from beeswax and scented candles that have made Trudon’s success. A site hidden deep in the countryside, where combusting perfume vapors envelop the visitor as soon as you enter. Far from noise and fragrances, the right side of the factory really caught my attention. An artisanal workshop where wax busts are handmade. Cire Trudon only has a few molds, lent to them by national museums. This limited number makes overproduction impossible. With a steady movement, a worker delicately pours the colored matter into the mold and after several hours of drying, frees the object from its armor and continues to the last stage : smoothing the candle’s entire surface, carefully scraping off imperfections as if she were exfoliating skin. Behind her, an employee dips candles into a silver bath, while another prepares special orders with hand-assembled letters.
Photographs by Ma Récréation. The workshop for molding and exfoliating busts using molds lent by national museums.
In the other part of the factory, the scent expert examines candles halfway through their production. An altar-like table where tens of dozens of burning waxes are in the course of being fabricated. In this large room, my resistance was limited due to the powerful smell of essences. But this is where it all happens : fragrant raw material is weighed, wicks are glued at the bottom of glass containers, glasses are filled, wicks are cut…Most of the processes are done by hand, whether they be for the Cire Trudon candles or candles for other houses. It takes hours to check the labels’ alignment, the straightness of candlewicks before the wax congeals, even the number of centimeters for an ideal burnout. So many things that I thought were automatic. Since the visit, my perception of this fragrant object has changed. When I now light a candle in the living room, I think of the manual labor involved. The number of hands that repeat every day the same choreographed movements. Even candles sometimes have souls…