Lovely to chat with Bernice Cooke who along with her husband Paul set up Canvas to Candle in 2010.

“I am the designer-maker and Paul looks after the administration and the day to day running of the business.  I have always been a creative person, right back to when I was eight and I won my first art competition.  I am a self-taught artist and I love to draw and paint iconic buildings, people, landscapes and places of interest from here and all over the world.  After completing a course in aromatherapy way back in 2010, I began creating my own personal scents for perfumes and candles, we re- branded our company and tweaked our product range to include commissioned candles for retailers, our own range of travel candles large and small and our compact perfume balms.  Each product has an original art image on the lid and as always – there is a story behind every scent.

The idea for our business was formulated one day over a cup of coffee, when we were on a stay-cation in Ireland – we like to bring home small gifts whenever we are on holidays just as a reminder of where we have been (our fridge is covered in magnets) but I saw a gap for something else. A candle – but no ordinary candle – an art souvenir candle –  I could create the artwork for the candle and formulate a particular scent that would trigger the memory of that place.

I previously undertook a course in aromatherapy, I took part in art classes to improve my techniques and I spent time in a perfumery in France learning all there is to know about our sense of smell.  I wanted to show and tell people that there is a story behind every scent, beginning with the artwork and ending with the sense of smell to evoke memories.

We live in a very beautiful scenic part of the Irish countryside, we have the fantastic River Shannon, Portumna Forest Park, Castle and Abbey on our doorstep.  My collections are greatly influenced by the majestic beautiful historic towns, landscapes, and buildings we are surrounded by in East Galway.  It is a treat for the senses to be able to create something that serves as a reminder of our history and heritage.

I have never been as busy; the current pandemic has helped me take time out to freshen up my website and create new and exciting content for my social media pages. I deal with a lot of fantastic retailers and some were able to transfer their shops to online during lock-down, but it is great to see those retailers all back open again and encouraging people to shop local when they can.

Currently I am working on some candle commissions, creating a line of work for print production for my website and hoping to put together a body of work for a local exhibition in the future.”

Canvas to Candle is featured in Box of Smiles – Keep Galway Smiling gift box, check our our range here