I remember the day I fell in love with sculptured wax.. It was a cool December Sunday morning. I was 16 and family friends had come to visit from out of state.
They wanted to spend the day strolling along the shops of Old Town. I was bored and convinced my mom to allow me to roam the nearby park as they shopped for antiques and artsy stuff.
I was waiting in line for a carriage ride when a lady in front of me showed her husband the "cutest soaps I just bought." I spied as she pulled from her bag a folded piece of tissue and began unwrapping it. The soaps where in the shape of Indian head pennies and about the size of the palm of her hand. I was intrigued, they looked like worn copper and I wondered to myself how they made something like that look so real.
She tucked the soap pennies back in their wrapping and then pulled out a white box, she was struggling to open it and I was getting worried that the carriage would come and whisk them away and I would never get to see what was in that little box. She tugged at the cardboard and the flap shot open, and I leaned forward, the curiosity was making me a bit too excited.
She stopped and looked at me.
I can't image what she thought as she looked me over. I was wearing a Metallica concert t-shirt and my hair was sticking up at odd angles and dyed in two toned colors. In 92 the laid back styles of grunge hadn't quite hit the valley yet. I was still rocking the aqua-net/blow dyer look.
And then the kindest thing happened. She smiled at me and said "isn't that pretty" as she shared her treasure with me. It was a little Eiffel Tower candle, couldn't have been more than two inches tall but the detail in the wax was exquisite and its varying shades of gray gave it a stone like appearance. It was beautiful and I wanted to say as much but the only thing I could get out was "I wonder how they make that"
She chuckled and replied "they make them right there, you can go watch" I thanked her and left the carriage line in search of this shop. I didn't think at the time to ask her what the name of the store was or which lane it was on. My head was filled with wonder and day dreams of what other type wax and soap creations they made.
Sadly I never did find the shop. Later when I asked my mom if she knew of it and could we please please please go back; she mentioned a flower shop that might be store I was looking for. But the holidays rushed us through December and the next thing I knew it was February before we had time to stroll the stores again.
The flower shop was gone. In it's place, a typical kitschy Arizona tourist gift shop. Although crestfallen at the thought of never seeing how they created that candle I didn't stop wondering how candles were made and in every shop I walk in to, when I pick up a candle and wonder "how'd they do that" I think of that day and the sweet lady who looked past a messy looking teenager and saw a young girls wide eyed wonder.
And even though I have yet to figured out how they created that stone look out of wax, I do get to make my own Eiffel Tower candles. Mine are a bit bigger standing in at over 7 inches tall and are poured in a creamy ivory color. I'm still practicing though and one day I'll know the waxy secrets of that stone look.