Friday, January 20, 2017
I have a whole other hoard of pots taking up shelf space in my basement: the demos I do for my classes at Portland Pottery. I don't fire all my demos, but many I do, either because I need to do a glazing demo, or I just liked the pot; or because I hate to waste them. Many are simple one-serving bowls, because I do that demo alot, but others are odd sizes and shapes whose function does not immediately spring to mind. I often sell demos for very short money from the Pottery Stairs, a little stand in my front yard. Staying afloat in this business has sometimes required me to use a little ingenuity: time to try a little 90s-style upselling!
Enter a 10-lb bag of soy wax. I already have several scents, which I use for soap making. In fact this whole project started when I decided to make myself a chocolate scented candle. I love the smell of chocolate even more than I love the taste, so in keeping with my New Year's Resolutions of self-care, I set out to make myself a present.
This pot started its life as a square rolled slab, with four squares cut out of the corners. It has a wonky charm, but it's small and oddly proportioned; no obvious use comes immediately to mind. I like it (small and oddly proportioned are part of its appeal, for me.) Now it is a chocolate scented candle.
It's burning right now, breathing out its sweet soothing scent. Seemed like a good day to practice some self-love. I didn't use a colorant, because for brown that's powdered cocoa, and I was afraid it might make the candle smoky.
I had some (well: approximately a shit-ton) of wax left over, and lots of little bowls and oddball pots, so hey, while I already had the mess out, decided to make a bunch more candles. I went with chocolate and coconut, the scents I have the most of.
These four are coconut:
With the wick standing upright, I scoop the wax flakes into the pot, and then pour about a tablespoon of fragrance over the wax. Then I put it in a baking pan or cookies sheet, and heat it in the oven, to about 275. Soy wax melts at a pretty low temp. When it's melted, it will fill in the air spaces (like silica fusing in a clay body during a firing) so the level of wax will drop. I top it off and then put it back in the oven.
These have a tiny sprinkle of gold mica, just to distinguish them from the chocolate candles, But then - duh - I should be able to tell by the smell! Soy wax melts at a low temperature, so when the wick has burned down, it's easy to pour out the remaining wax. Run the pot through the dishwasher, and you've got a fresh clean bowl, to use for anything you want.
My hope is to sell these value-added pots, which previously went for $3 - $5, for $10 - $16, depending on size. I'll post a few online, if we ever get a day sunny enough for me to take decent photos.