Sofía is a delightful young woman whose candlemaking repertoire is extraordinarily diverse, including extremely ornate designs and others that are simple and elegant. She lives with her very traditional Zapotec parents at the top of a hill in Teotitlán del Valle. Sofía paints with “cochineal,” a natural substance, and emphasizes the importance of using non-toxic materials.
When candles are completed it is essential to lick them to enhance their sheen. Doing so with unnatural substances would be bad for her health. Sofía’s ornate candle surrounded by sunflowers can take up to three months to make, from start to finish. Two hundred and twenty individual pourings over the wick are necessary to make the largest size candles.