BERLIN — It’s no secret that the downtown Berlin arts district is home to countless creative individuals. Now, the town welcomes a new face: 34-year-old Natalie Blanton, owner and creator of Honey Water Candles.
Blanton’s longtime fascination with aromatherapy and perfumery, which she studied in Colorado, Rhode Island and New York, led to the creation of her candle-making business in 2019.
The name “Honey Water Candles” emanated from a vision board Blanton put together to explore a new scent. The board displayed dreamlike images of honeybees, nectar and individuals floating in rivers. Altogether, it enveloped the serene and delicious feeling she wanted to set forward for her Berlin shop.
Now, the feeling she hopes to evoke in her customers is similar.
“I want my customers to experience that dreamy feeling of sitting by a riverside; simple and tranquil,” said Blanton. “There’s a lot that goes into owning a shop, right down to the design of how you put things on a shelf. In a way, every shop owner is an artist for having a vision and bringing that vision to life.”
HOW THE CANDLES ARE MADE
The candle-making process is intricate. Blanton, who finds inspiration in the natural world through varieties of vegetables or some combination of obscure objects, mimics the smells that some assume to be odorless, such as acorns, radishes and tomatoes.
Then comes the creation itself, done by hand in Blanton’s small, wooden cottage nestled in the woods along the Eastern Shore.
According to Blanton, candle-making is a science. She begins the process by melting wax in a giant vat. She then weighs the wax, measures the fragrance in a graduated cylinder, combines the two, and stirs the mixture for about two minutes. Once it has cooled, she pours the blend into jars, each of which she has wicked in advance. The candles are labeled, polished and readied for purchase.
“Before they go on the shelf, I let the candles cure for two weeks,” Blanton said. “During that two week-period, chemistry is just doing its thing. If you light the candle before then, the scent throw won’t be as strong.”
Honey Water’s candles are environmentally friendly. As noted on its website: “Every candle contains soy-wax made from U.S. farmed soybeans, a clean-burning cotton wick, and a blend of essential oils and phthalate-free fragrance.”
MORE THAN JUST CANDLES
Blanton’s brick-and-mortar shop houses more than just candles. Several of her artistic creations, including natural hand-dyed dish towels, satin landscape throw pillows, and expressive acrylic paintings and prints are also on display.
Her deepest connection lies with her paintings.
My paintings are inspired from memories of the Eastern Shore, memories from my childhood up until my adulthood,” said Blanton, whose work customarily depicts coastal or woodland landscapes. “When I paint, I shut my brain off. It’s muscle memory at this point. I put on music and find myself in motion, doing a lot of broad strokes. Being expressive with my body when I’m painting has been very therapeutic.”
Blanton now uses her paintings as candle labels, allowing her to marry her two interests. As a candle burns down, its flickering flame will retreat behind the colored skyline, giving off the ethereal impression of lightning.
The Honey Water Candles shop highlights other artists, as well. The shop features products from a handful of small businesses and creators from across the country, such as Sobo, Nova Perfume, Nash & Joans, Coco Shalom, Mast, and Little Green Witch.
COMMUNITY IN DOWNTOWN BERLIN
While the online store is currently sold out, Blanton plans to restock candles this summer. For now, her focus is on her in-person customer service, which she calls her “favorite part.”
“I love this town. When I was younger, I used to walk around and dream about where my own little shop could be,” she said. “Now, I’m so grateful.
“A lot of people I’ve known my whole life and new faces, too, have shown up to support my shop. I think that’s what’s really unique to a small town, how word gets passed around and folks genuinely want to support one another,” she said.
Blanton has begun to work on a new summertime scent.
“My daughter and I are working on a dandelion candle right now. I think it would be fun to have a celebration for this new scent, too. Maybe a dandelion themed soiree.