Have you heard the buzz about Tupelo Beeswax Candles?
By Kait Keim
Winter is “almost” here, the sun is hardly ever around, and the holidays are sneaking up on us! You know what I’m thinking? Beeswax candles. Known for their warmth and light, they are a healthier alternative to their paraffin cousins. Beeswax candles also have a natural sweet scent and burn up to three times longer than traditional wax candles!
“Beeswax is the only known fuel that when burned, gives off negative ions. These negative ions bond with any positively charged ions floating in the interior from things such as dust, pollen, fumes, and odors. These negative and positive ions create molecules, which are heavier than positive ions alone. The molecules fall to the floor and out of the air that you breathe, thus helping you to breathe better. The same balancing of molecules occurs after a thunderstorm, near a waterfall or in the ocean.”
Ok, so now what is the deal with paraffin? Well… “It might surprise you to know that paraffin is the grayish sludge produced by petroleum refineries. This residue is bleached with toxic chemicals and compounds which, when burned, may be carcinogenic. Traditional wax candles may also contain stearic acid, toxic dyes and lead or zinc wicks. (Quoted information from Tupelo Beeswax Candles brochure).
We have carried beeswax candles for a long time at the Ypsilanti Food Co-op, and now we are proud to carry Tupelo Beeswax Candles, handcrafted by Maria Dault, right here in Michigan! Maria makes her candles with raw, filtered, beeswax and cotton wicks. She also “designs and creates her candles with love, joy, and consciousness.” Very important ingredients!
Maria Dault is originally from the UP and likes not having a computer at home, or at work. She was first introduced to beeswax while living at the Himalayan Institute. Her friend Karen brought her a chunk in 1998 and Maria immediately fell in love and wanted to know more about beeswax. In 2000 she bought her first mold after moving back to Michigan. She started making candles when her nine-year-old son, Prashant, was only two. She soon began pressing flowers to use in her candles, and now grows her own.
She first tried selling candles to gift shops but they moved slowly, so she tried taking them to People’s Food Co-op in Kalamazoo. Soon the orders poured in, so she branched out to other like minded stores in the area: the Natural Health Food Center, Sawall’s, and then beyond to the Petoskey Grain Train, Marquette Food Co-op, People’s Food Co-op in Ann Arbor, (of course) the Ypsilanti Food Co-op, and still hasn’t stopped there! Her candles have been a huge success, especially since Maria didn’t expect to be able to support her family with them!
After moving back to Michigan she first lived in Kalamazoo, but has since moved to Lawerence, MI, about 25 miles West of Kalamazoo. She has also opened a small shop with her friend, Katheylynn, where she sells her other passion, tie-die. About 20-25 artists (other local women) sell their various wares on consignment: pottery, home made Native American flutes, paintings, beads, etc. The shop is called The Seeded Earth and is located at the only stop light along the Red Arrow Highway in Lawerence. It is about a mile North of I-94, exit 52. If you find yourself headed out to Lake Michigan, near South Haven, you should consider stopping by to check out the store! Even their local Sheriff, Tim, makes them cookies and stops by to hang out…
Maria and her son live in an old farmhouse built in1891, and rent the upstairs from an older couple that also live on the lower level of the house. She makes all of her candles upstairs, and tie-dies outside. She is definitely willing to host tie-die parties in the summer, as long as there are 15 or more interested people. She even tie-dies in winter (inside), mostly long-sleeved shirts and special orders.
At one point her son was making watercolor paintings and selling them at the shop and has made somewhere between $300-$500 on his art! With the money he bought candle molds for a turtle, owl, moose, wolf (and others). Because he invested in the equipment he has been getting a share of the profit, but now he helps make the candles as well. Some of her other helpers include two ladies whom trade making candles for candles, Sue & Angie.
Maria gets her beeswax from Michigan bee keepers, Debbie and Jim, who are from St. Joe, MI (and during the winter, from Florida). The wax arrives in 40lb blocks which she stores outside the house. To break apart the block she uses a machete and a rubber mallet, which is apparently easier in winter because it shatters in the cold. She also sells their honey at the shop. If you would like to know more about Maria or The Seeded Earth please feel free to contact her at the shop 269.674.8887.
71188 51st St.
Lawerence, Mi 49064