Hand Carved Candles: How I became an Artisan Candlemaker
About Dune Candles Lead Artisan, Faten Malakieh
Dune Candles is the only hand carved candle center in the UAE, and supplies artisan grade bespoke luxury hand carved candles and candle carving supplies to delighted clients all over the UAE, Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. Their workshop near Al Wahda Mall, Abu Dhabi, is a hidden gem; with a shop front full of beautiful candles in all the colours of the rainbow, it’s popular with the in-the-know artistic crowd, as well as customers looking for bespoke personalized gifts in Abu Dhabi to make their friends and family feel special.
While their little store fast becomes Abu Dhabi’s go-to place for gifts you can’t buy anywhere else, it’s time to meet the lady behind these unique and beautiful creations. We interview Dune Candles Founder and Lead Artisan Faten Malakieh to find out how an office manager fulfilled her childhood dream to become a professional artist.
Faten, what makes Dune Candles different from other candle makers and gift stores?
Our vision has always been to bring ‘handcraft’ back to life. We’re all so busy these days, and accustomed to being able to walk into a store and buy something ‘off the peg’, that I think we’ve lost the ability to love something which an artisan has invested a piece of themselves into. The unique charm of a bespoke item which you know that nobody else in the world owns, has always thrilled me, and I see it as a vivid reminder to never stop exploring and experimenting. When you buy a hand carved candle in our store, you’re buying something that is exceptional and iconic.
When did you first discover that you were artistically talented?
For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by beautiful things. As a small child I would spend my free time painting, and making craft items. My bedroom was full of my creations! Perhaps it is because of this that I’ve always felt drawn to things which were handmade; knowing that somebody had made them with love and care. Not at all like the sense of detachment I feel when I touch something that is machine-made.
“ Love of Beauty is Taste. The Creation of Beauty is Art.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
What is it that you love about candles?
Candles have always had a place in my home. I enjoy using them as a ‘finishing touch’ to my home décor, and I always have scented candles around to create a romantic and tranquil atmosphere. They make me feel relaxed, and help me feel centered and balanced.
How did you get started with carving candles?
Because I liked candles so much, I used to buy them everywhere I travelled, all over the globe. I got interested in the different techniques used to make candles in different parts of the world, and started to read and research online. One day, I watched a video about candle carving, and instantly fell in love with this unique idea! And a new obsession was born ;-)
When did you realise that this was something that would become more than a hobby?
Initially, I travelled to three different continents, learning various candle carving techniques from master craftspeople, and then spent an entire year practising my new hobby night and day with basic materials. In the beginning, I gave them away to friends and family for Eid, birthdays, baby showers, housewarmings, and other special occasions, and to my surprise they didn’t just like them – they loved them!
It was the support, positivity and encouragement from family and friends that made me realise that my hobby had the potential to become a business opportunity, and maybe there was a place I could share a little piece of me in the form of a candle – and inspire others to learn to see the beauty that exists in hand made artwork.
What’s next for Dune Candles?
As an artist, I’m constantly creating and innovating, as this is when I’m at my happiest and producing my best work. We are just about to launch a range of exclusive art parties in Abu Dhabi, where you can come along with your friends, learn how to carve your own candles, and take your creations home. I have also had lots of enquiries from trained artists keen to learn how to carve candles professionally, and so I am also offering bespoke training packages for anyone interested in carving candles to the level required for sale or exhibition.
“It’s not just about creativity, it is about the person you’re becoming while you’re creating.”
Later this year I’m hoping to introduce an entire new range of candles which are kind to the environment, using clean-burning soy wax and wood wicks, and am just about to go on a course to learn how to make bath bombs and soaps! It’s all go!
Faten Malakieh is the Lead Artisan at Dune Candles Abu Dhabi. To order a bespoke luxury candle, book a party or workshop, or to find out more about what we do, please visit our website www.dunecandles.com, or contact Faten at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +971 (0)50 117 7445.