Sydney based candle creatives Black Blaze are poetry in practice. Founders, Joe and Ray named their business after the Australian-native wildflower, the banksia, which can survive and thrive after a bushfire.
"As fire engulfs the wildflower, banksia seeds shoot out into the settling ash," describes Black Blaze. "This ash acts as a source of food and nourishes a new banksia to grow in its wake. This story resonates with our story. As we felt like those seeds when moving to Australia four years ago."
For more beautiful sentiments, design philosophy and a solid dose of wisdom, we caught up with Ray from Black Blaze.
Hi Ray! Our Series is called Meet the Maker - tell us about your brand.
We make home fragrances and home decor products, especially candles! We started from scented candles, then we developed a range of fragrance products including candles, room spray, reed diffuser, and diffuser oils. On top of that, the Column Pillar Candle collection we created is getting popular this year. We also designed some brass candle holders for the pillar candle.
Black Blaze Pillar Candles, available here
Please tell us about your journey to Black Blaze - what drew you to the art of candle making?
Before moving to Sydney, Joe and I both worked in magazines. Back in the days as magazine editors, we had a fast-paced lifestyle. Everything changes fast in the realm of magazine, which means we have to keep up with fashion and trends. Lifestyle and home design have always been our passion since then and that kind of passion for beauty and home never changed until today. However, I knew that there is always a part of me wandering to slow down and to live in a more laid-back way. It all started here in Sydney, Australia. After moving to Sydney, we decided to start our own business from the scratch. Since we’ve already found what we’d love to devote to, what we did is just to do it in our own way this time. We started from homeware design in which we’re familiar with and have a passion for. Our first scented candle product range called The Great Outdoor range is inspired by the great nature we explored on our first journey in Australia.
For me personally, The notes of the Great Outdoor scented candles embodied our memories about that journey. Burning candles is like a magic that instantly transports us back to somewhere in the journey. These candles always bring back the memory of that journey and remind me of the bush, beaches, and rainforests. Although scent is highly personal, the emotion is universal. We’d like to share a sense of discovery by the fragrances and we wish to be able to evoke faraway places and create subtle emotional resonances with people.
The Maker’s Mrkt community cannot get enough of your pillar candle. What is it about these objects, in one part so historic and another so honest, that feel so resonant in 2020?
As the designers, the process of creating the pillar candle itself is satisfying for us, back then whether this product would be liked by the market or not remains unknown for us. We launched them last Christmas, but they just became popular this year, to be more specific, in the last few months, which is totally a surprise to us.
At the very beginning, we just want to create a simple but timeless piece of work gently combining the sense of design and the sense of nature. We never thought that it could become the most hit one among our products. 2020 has been a hard time for everyone. We’ve gone through the lockdown as well so we started to understand why people want to have something warm and colourful in their home nowadays. The lockdown forced everyone to draw their attention from the outside of the window to their own homes. How to live better at home became a question everyone is looking for the answer to. On our social media such as Instagram, many customers shared their amazing photos and stories about how they decorated their dining tables or adding a colourful and warm tone to a corner of their home by using our pillar candle. I think it’s great that people regard this pillar candle as a small way to help them calm the nerves and evoke the good memories about travel. It's very encouraging for everyone including us.
Black Blaze Pillar Candles, available here
Black Blaze has a beautiful, gentle handwriting and ethos. What inspires you?
Designers always express themselves by their works. We see Black Blaze as a simple word that we can use it for expressing our aesthetics and life philosophy. More importantly, we hope that one day this simple word could be powerful enough to picture all the ideal lifestyle and home style we love: a natural, clean simplicity that will impress people in the details.
Please tell us about your development process - where do you begin?
For us, the candle is more than functional. We regard it as a piece of home decor at the very beginning of its design. The candles are usually high on our essential list in terms of home decor. We want our design to be the best complement to various home decor styles.
It is always the idea of creating something functional and beautiful for our everyday life that drives us to step in the journey of new product developments.
This process is sort of related to our previous experiences as magazine editors. I used to work for Kinfolk magazine and it's insistence on style and it's lifestyle and design inspired me a lot. All these influences always bring subtle and profound effects during the design process.
What role does colour play in designing your candles?
Colour is important for sure. The Interior visual friendliness is a key feature we consider when we choose the colour for our products. For the low saturated and soft colours of the pillar candle range, we want to create a palette that can pop up from the background while perfectly fit in the various environments with a sense of peace.
We love the soft and soothing palette of the pillar candles. Which is your favourite colour and why?
Our favourite colour is cream white. It’s pure and all-match with any colour. And also the cream white represents the colour of the natural soy wax by which the candles made from.
As for home decor style, we like the airy summer beach house so there would be plenty of elements that can match with our white pillar candles, such as a wooden coffee table, or a rattan pendant light, white fabric sofa, linen earthy-coloured patterned rugs and our favourite Wabi-Sabi ceramics would be suitable as well.
Black Blaze Pillar Candles, available here
You design out of Paddington, Sydney - what are some things you need to have around you to feel inspired and happy at work?
The neighbourhood we live in is a vibrant and creative community where style meets taste. Many of our customers are stylists, interior designers and editors. They come from different industries such as fashion, furniture design, or jewellery design. We love this vibe. It nourishes us and also inspires us. Being around creative people and things is important for us so that inspirations spark.
It's hard to believe we are in the final months of this year! What are your goals for 2021?
We’re excited that many people started to know Black Blaze from our column pillar candle. For the upcoming 2021, We hope to explore more possibilities in the homeware design area. Currently the project we are working on is the expansion of the column pillar candle series. We’d love to play with the concept of the column shape, the core design element of the entire series, to extend and complete this series. We want to use the various shapes and heights of the candles for satisfying various needs about home decor and complete the look of any room. Recently we also have a newly designed brass candle tray in a wave shape released. Next year we hope we will design more objects that relate with this range.
Your pillar candles provide the most opulent finish to a table setting. Can you please describe your perfect meal at home?
I will call a meal with family, friends, or love ones a perfect meal even if the meal sometimes would be a simple meal in our daily life. During the special pandemic time, people spend more time preparing meals at home. We hope that when people ceremonially lit the pillar candles at home, the candles can brighten these particular moments and bring some warmth, colour, and a sense of ritual. And we hope everyone can have the time and mood to celebrate every tiny extraordinary moments in every ordinary day.
You can shop Black Blaze here