Ted Thompson started dipping candles at their present workshop in 2003, and before that from the mid-eighties, he was using old oil drums in a Nissen hut at Moorlands near Nenthead where he lived in a caravan. He tells us It was a much more primitive set up and often very smokey there, but at that time he had already started selling to some of the best eco-friendly stores in the UK. Ted first encountered dipped candle making in the early 1970s when a friend in Denmark, Kurt Saabe was making them and selling them at the gate of a sort of commune called Vindhoj (wind hill) to supplement income for his family together with growing veg and making sculptures. Returning to the UK and living in Alston Ted worked as a joiner and scraped a living until he thought he’d try to make a living with candles and got the dipping machinery made by a local joiner. He knew where to buy wax, wick and dyes but it was only by trial and error he learnt, and the first year or two the candles and colours left much to be desired. Dipping has long been a method of candle making, and when candles were essential to life in the country, rushlights were made by dipping the pith of rushes in mutton fat or dripping. Only the church and the wealthy would be able to afford beeswax candles. The wicks they use today are made from braided cotton bleached and solution in boric acid, and it is essential to use the correct wick for the diameter of the candle. An affordable luxury now for all.