Aroma Quotes run enjoyable candle and soap making courses with Afternoon Tea near Huddersfield in Yorkshire. CraftCourses' Miriam discovers the pleasure of using natural ingredients to create beautiful looking (and smelling) gifts. Book your place now!
The main hall in Brockhole Village is a large, high ceilinged traditional village hall – perfect for a spot of afternoon tea, something that course-goers are treated to as part of the candle-making day.
As I arrived, a lady with a big smile and an apron on welcomed me in. Kay and Julie are the course leaders, and having been friends for 40 years, they manage to create a friendly and relaxed atmosphere in the group (although they are assisted in this by the fact that candle-making happens to be a relaxing thing to do!) whilst also showing that they really know their stuff. Prior to running workshops, Kay and Julie ran a natural cosmetics and skincare business, and their focus on creating natural products is clear throughout the course.
As well as teaching us how to make a natural candle using soy wax, we also learnt how to do the process safely and creatively, adding colours and fragrances, and using two different containers. It was apparent that there was a range of participants on the course, some who were thinking of making and selling candles, some who were avid crafters, others who just wanted to try something new, and some who came for a nice day out with friends.
The candle-making process itself is relatively simple, but with the breadth to develop and be more creative once you have learned the basics, and we were talked through it by Kay and Julie at a pace that would suit both confident crafters and the less confident amongst us. After the first half of the course, having made one candle in a tin and one in a glass jar, and also having bizarrely discovered that two neighbours from the village I live in an hour and a half hours drive away were also on the course (small world in the candle-making business!) we put our candles to the side to set. What to do now?
As we pottered about carefully putting our candles on the side, Kay and Julie made-over the tables with tablecloths and teapots, cake stands and cutlery, and laid out a vast assortment of sandwiches and cakes for afternoon tea. It was a good chance to relax, chat to the rest of the group, have some lunch and conveniently filled what would otherwise have been a gap in the course, as the candles couldn’t be worked on any further until they had had time to set. Aside from being practical, it is this that makes the course a little different from many other courses and gives the whole day a feeling of being a treat just as much as a creative learning experience.
The last part of the day was spent decorating the candle tins and jars. I’m not usually much of a cutter and sticker and had expected to prefer the first part of the course to the last, but I found myself getting absorbed in the simple pleasure of making something look pretty. What was lovely about it, as is often the case on a craft course, was how different each person’s candles looked at the end. The candles all looked craft-shop worthy and I do believe many of them went on to be Christmas gifts!
As well as the candle-making courses, Julie and Kay run cold process and melt-and-pour soap making courses, all with the same philosophy of using natural ingredients. The location in the local village hall, the pinnies and afternoon tea, the broad west Yorkshire accents and the odd stray rambler all gave the course a warm sense of village life and community which was a welcome addition to a quality day of crafting.