Vol. 1 : Escape

Light Play

Autumn / Winter ’21

Amid dancing flames and enchanting shadows, candles are having their moment to shine

When the initial frustration of being closely confined during lockdown gave way to a sense of acceptance, many of us began enjoying nesting, cultivating rituals, resurrecting lapsed hobbies, or exploring latent passions. For some local creatives, the time afforded a chance to go back to basics. One age-old artform that’s had a popular resurgence is candle stick making. Forget boring white pillars and heady scents, this new league is breaking the mould with quirky colours, imaginative styles, and shapes that are playful and sculputural. You won’t need a special occassion (or power outage) to light the waxy works of art from these five brands, although you may find you’re reluctant to use them at all.

The Lumes Behind the Lens

We tasked the 2020 ‘Lumes’ – graduates of Lampost Luminaries, a fellowship for emerging women photographers and videographers – Thalente Mitchell Khomo, Lebogang Tlhako and Basetsana Maleluka, with an open brief to capture still lives of these candle brands in their own photographic styles.

ABOVE Via Wax ‘Mid Century Mama’, RIGHT Via Wax ‘Twisted Sister’ both photographed by Lebogang Tlhako

Sisters Nathalie and Laura Viruly combined their passion for striking design with their desire to create original, artisanal candles. Drawing on Laura’s degree in Fine Art and Sculpting and Nathalie’s eye for archiving and curating even the most mundane objects, every ombre, two-tone or tie-dye candle is poured by hand in their Cape Town home studio.

Moat Design ‘Pillar’, ‘Clover’ and ‘Curvy Star’ candles photographed by Basetsana Maleluka

Moat Design

Robyn Britz, multimedia designer and founder of Zana Products, felt inspired during lockdown to make something outside of the textile realm. Moat Design’s colourful, experimental tabletop sculptures are made from original 3D-printed moulds. Robyn hopes they’ll be pleasurable to look at even before they’re lit.

Okra ‘Trident’ photographed by Thalente Mitchell Khomo


Melle was born of founder Sunelle Basson’s appreciation for one-of-a-kind homeware and a simple eagerness to create ‘pieces that are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the heart’. After Sunelle gifted her first three sets of candles to a close friend, requests began pouring in, and she felt emboldened to launch her brand.

Melle ‘Spiral’ photographed by Thalente Mitchell Khomo


A beautiful meeting of minds was all it took for Okra founders Erik Rust and Michelle du Preez to get creative. Erik’s master’s degree in Biochemistry and Comptuer Aided Design and Michelle’s experience as a creative professional have provided the knowledge and artistry required to craft truly exceptional, 3D-inspired hand-poured candles.


Keen on challenging the stigma around mental health, Suvana Harichand and Sharaad Nundlall recognised candles’ ability to create a calming environment, which in turn can enhance mood and promote self-care. ‘We enjoy filling spaces with light, and are inspired when our customers tell us they feel good.’

Suvspaces Bubble candle photographed by Thalente Mitchell Khomo

To read more features from Vol. 1 : Escape, purchase your digital or print copy here.