Exmoor's flourishing candlestick maker
PUBLISHED: 09:00 24 March 2014
Exmoor craftsman John Baker has seen many skills and occupations disappear without trace from the area during his working life.
John, the man behind one of Exmoor’s most successful creative businesses, Lyn Candles, loves to quote the words of the old children’s rhyme, ‘the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker’ to visitors to his workshop on Lee Road in Lynton.“The butchers and the bakers have all disappeared, but I am the candlestick maker and I am still very much here,” he said.
The rhyme is particularly apt, given not only John’s surname and current occupation, but also because of the slightly ironic fact that he began his working life as a butcher.After working in agricultural engineering in Porlock and with a plumber in Lynton, John was looking for a new opportunity.
“One day I read an article about candle making in a national magazine. I was so fascinated by the idea that I went straight to Barnstaple and bought myself a children’s candle kit.
“The owner of the Willow Pattern shop in Lynton bought some of the first candles I made, both to burn herself and to sell. That was my first break, and the business has developed from there, selling first to local shops, from a stall in Bideford Pannier Market and eventually to securing contracts to supply a large national cosmetics company and other retailers.”
John’s workshop is a great attraction to Lynton’s visitors, with the actual candle making process visible from the shop area. The business has now expanded, and John, who formerly worked alone, has been joined by Sally Redmond.
Sally explained: “I had no experience of candle making when I Exmoor’s flourishing candlestick maker joined John. It really is a craft, and one I am still learning. It really is a bit of a science and John insists that everything is carefully tried and tested before going on sale.
“We use only the best quality materials, waxes, fragrances and wicks, in the process and keep a constant lookout for the colours and styles that are in fashion.”
All of Lyn Candles products are hand made, and all shapes and sizes of candles are produced, with the business specialising in larger varieties of up to 6ft tall.
A new website went live ten days before Christmas, and the business is now selling online.
John’s priority is happy customers: “For a village candle maker to make a go of a business on Exmoor is brilliant. When people come in and admire the candles it really gives me a buzz.”
This article was first published in the March issue of Devon Life. To get the magazine delivered every month to your home, subscribe at www.subscriptionsave.co.uk/dev or call 08448484217