It seems like Christmas has been coming for a long time in the A&C office, as we have been dreaming of (smelling) and perfecting these candles for the majority of the year, but they are finally ready to share.
We are so happy to say our most loved Orange & Cinnamon scented Christmas Candle is back, but this time there is a new scent on the block... Christmas Pine!!
This year our Christmas candles truly are a labour of local love from start to finish.
We have collaborated with Tauranga based JS Ceramics to create our beautiful ceramic vessels. Each vessel is hand poured and trimmed in Tauranga, and then filled with wax and our signatures scents in Birkenhead, on the same road that our HQ is on - it doesn't get more local than that.
We hope you love them as much as we do!
We caught up with Jen from JS ceramics to learn a little more about the process behind the vessels and Jens journey with ceramics.
01 What sparked your love of ceramics?
I discovered my love of ceramics (at 21) when I got a part-time job at a pottery studio near my house in Te Puna. The moment I walked in and saw all of the works in progress, I couldn't wait to get involved and start making things of my own. The limitless scope of what you can make from clay really surprised and inspired me.
02 Can you tell us a bit about your brand and how it came to be?
JS Ceramics began around 10 years ago as my ceramics practice changed from decorative art tiles towards functional items for the table and home. The brand itself is fairly simple - J and S are for Jen and Sus. Sus is my sister who was key in getting the studio and brand established. (I've been making ceramics for about 19 years now overall)
03 Can you tell us about your art practice and your journey with making?
Our process is slip casting - using slip (liquid clay) to cast shapes in plaster of Paris moulds. I hand-model the initial shapes so all of our moulds/shapes are unique to us. Occasionally I work with other methods, but tend to focus on slip casting. I'm largely self-taught, with guidance from other potters and mentors along the way. The alchemy and interactions of the slip (clay), plaster, and then finally the glazes and heat has always fascinated me.
04 Tell us the process on making the vessels for our candles?
Abbe and I collaborated on the design of the vessels and in the end we re-purposed a taller vase mould to produce the right shape for the vessels.
Each piece starts as pure white slip - to which we add oxides and locally foraged sand to add character. It's then poured into our moulds and after a while the vessel casts are removed to be dried, trimmed and smoothed.
Once bone-dry, the clay vessels are bisque (lightly) fired, partially dipped in clear glaze to keep some interesting texture on the exterior, and fired again to around 1200 c resulting in a two-tone textured clay and glossy glazed finish.
05 We are so excited to have our signature Christmas scents in your vessels this year, what is your go to candle scent?
Fresh green garden and citrus scents, bergamot and yuzu are my current favourites.
06 What is your favourite thing to create?
I love to make larger one-off vases and pots, with hand-painted decorative glazing.
Shop our Signature Christmas Candles here.