Fire and Fragrance

Honey Water Candles founder Natalie Blanton uses her creative energy to turn candle-making into a sensory art form

Written by Olivia Minzola  |  Photography by Megan Steele

Nestled deep in the woods of Berlin is a lone wooden cottage. Inside sits the workspace of 34-year-old Natalie Blanton, owner and creator of Honey Water Candles.

For as long as she can remember, Blanton has been fascinated with aromatherapy and perfumery. Her interest began in 2007, after moving to Colorado to work as a massage therapist; it led her to complete countless courses, programs and workshops, as well as study with skilled perfumers in Rhode Island and New York. Then, in 2019, after moving back to Berlin, her very own candle-making business was born.

Over the past three years, Natalie has collaborated with an array of local farms, two of which are Splendid Earth Farm and Little Fields Floral. The association with the former led to the creation of one of Blanton’s personal favorite scents, Yarrow and Lavender, with each candle embellished by a sprinkle of yarrow blossoms.

“It was such a unique creation,” said Natalie. “It was as if each candle had its own little bouquet on top.”

Her inspiration tends to come from nature. When creating a new scent, she begins by brainstorming outside, such as in her garden. Oftentimes, she aims to mimic the smells of things one would not necessarily think of as being aromatic, such as a tomato or radish.

“A radish doesn’t really smell like anything on its own and neither does a tomato. But you can create this idea of what a radish or tomato would smell like and convey that through a scented candle. It’s an art form,” explained Natalie.

Honey Water Candles makes products that are in touch with nature and environmentally friendly. Each candle consists of soy wax made from U.S.-farmed soybeans, adorned with a clean-burning cotton wick, and contains a blend of essential oils and phthalate-free fragrance. In addition, 5% of all purchases are donated to local grassroots organizations dedicated to environmental conservation. The small business is committed to preserving the unique environment of the Eastern Shore in any way it can.

Natalie is proud of the way her candles are made — not in a factory passed along on a conveyor belt, but in a tiny cottage with a working woodstove, by her own two hands. “My workspace is very rustic,” said Blanton. “There’s no central air and, in the winter, you can feel the wind whipping between the boards that make up the walls. I like that about it, though. I like the challenges of working in this space.”

Each and every step of the candle-making process is done completely by hand. She begins by blending. Then she pours, wicks, polishes, labels and packages each candle for its designated buyer.

“Once the candles are made, I let them cure for two weeks before I sell them,” said Natalie. “It normally takes that much time for the fragrance to fully develop. If you were to burn your candle before then, you wouldn’t get the same ‘scent throw.’”

Natalie often finds herself working alone. Still, she is aided by her husband and two young children from time to time.

“I find such joy in watching my children participate,” said Natalie. “Not long ago, my daughter was in the corner, working with construction paper, and when she held up her creation, it read, ‘Honey Water’ and was a picture of the logo. When we’re on walks, they’ll pick little things, like clover, and say, ‘Look! Clover smells so good!’ They love to come up with ideas.”

Now, as the world enters a new year, Natalie looks to the future of Honey Water Candles. There, she sees only the best possible collaborations and creations in store. CS

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