This year, local horticulturalist Jared Fehr decided to further embrace his hobby as a candle-maker.
Fehr has been making Alberta-sourced beeswax candles out of unique pieces of wood for about 10 years. At first, it was a casual hobby, and he would make candles as gifts for family and friends.
The idea came from a red elderberry tree Fehr once had to prune for a client. Fehr noticed that the tree had a unique knot. “I wanted to find a way to recreate that,” Fehr recalled.
Fehr started casually selling candles last January at trade shows, conferences, and the like. He was looking forward to selling his candles at the Make-It Trade Show this spring, however due to COVID-19, the show was cancelled, leaving Fehr disappointed at the lost opportunity.
Despite this setback, it inspired Fehr to pursue candle-making more. He set up a website this fall and has had much success selling his creations since.
To Fehr, Tree Climber Candles is not about simply making candles. Fehr hopes that through his candles, customers will develop a deeper appreciation and respect for nature. The pieces of wood Fehr moulds his candles out of often have a rich and unique history behind them.
“The mission of this project is to bring people closer to nature,” Fehr explains. For sale on his website, Fehr has a candle called the Alzheimer’s candle, which was made out of a tree Fehr needed to remove for a client. The client seemed particularly upset about losing this tree. Fehr later learned that the client’s mother, who was dying of Alzheimer’s, liked to sit in the shade of the tree, and that the client associated the tree with her mother. After learning this, Fehr decided to make a candle out of a portion of the tree, and gave it to his client last Christmas. The client was very grateful for the candle and began crying. Her mother had passed away the month before, and the candle was a preservation of the memory of her mother.
“That was when I found the deeper meaning behind these candles,” Fehr said.
Fehr also has a Basking’s Ridge Candle set available for pre-order on his website. The Basking’s Ridge Candles are made out of pieces of wood from a 619 year old white oak tree, which was believed to be the oldest white oak tree in the world. The tree was situated in the centre of a Presbyterian cemetery in New Jersey, and was said to be a place George Washington met with various revolutionary war generals. Unfortunately, the tree had to be removed in 2017.
“It was a devastating loss to the community,” Fehr commented.
Later, Fehr contacted the arborist that removed the tree and purchased some pieces of the tree to make moulds out of. The Basking’s Ridge Candle set also comes with a Certificate of Authenticity, which came with the pieces of wood Fehr purchased. Fehr was able to obtain permission to reproduce the certificate for candle buyers.
“I believe there are much deeper and personal reasons for us to think about being good environmental stewards other than saving the planet - although, that is definitely of prime importance,” said Fehr. For more information or to purchase candles, go to https://www.treeclimbercandles.com, or find Fehr on Instagram @prohortico.
Tree Climber Candles logo.
Tree Climber Candles. Photos submitted