We all have creativity that lives within us & whether that manifests itself as a full-time creative or a weekend crafter, that inner-maker should be celebrated & today’s Studio Tour artist does just that. Meet Margaret Hunter of Tulip & Bear. Her hand poured candles take you to the dawn of a new morning, inspire you when you are burning the midnight oil, and make you feel like you are putting kindling on a fire. Margaret’s intuition for fragrances & the emotions they conjure up is magical and burning one of her candles is nothing short of indulgent. Take a peek inside her studio, her process, and fall in love with your new favorite candle line. xoxo, LK
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
My name is Margaret Hunter, I live in Richmond, Virginia where I am Chandler ( proper/old fashioned name for a candle maker). I make high end perfumed candles for my company, Tulip & Bear.
WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Beauty and people who make something out of nothing. Be they entrepreneurs or artists the two are similar to me. Both have wildly creative dreams and big visions and are able to execute on them and make them “appear”. My husband, a consummate entrepreneur, wouldn’t call himself a “creative” but I’m constantly inspired by the ideas pouring out of him. I’m inspired by the fact that he dreamed up a company that didn’t exist and then through many years of dedicated trial and hard work made it a thriving business. And likewise I’m inspired by beauty, natural and created. Beauty is so important. Beauty draws us in and makes us rest our senses; it inspires, heals, comforts and eases the mind. Beauty reminds us to hope for peace.
WHAT DOES “BEING CREATIVE” MEAN TO YOU?
In my opinion creativity is an innate part of us all that needs to be fed, nurtured and then let free to run wild. It’s the space where you turn off your editing brain. It’s where you stop consuming and start unearthing what you already have. We are constantly bombarded with outside opinions, news, and social media, inspiration and distraction. Some days I feel like I’m digesting other people’s ideas more than I’m having my own. Being creative to me isn’t necessarily about producing a final product but reserving space and time to let your words on the page, hands, gifts, ideas take flight. It’s hard to create that space but the practice of shutting off and pouring out to me is where creativity lives; and being in that space is very therapeutic.
WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR DAILY INSPIRATION?
Since I’ve gotten into candle making I have become hyper aware of the scents all around me. I am smelling things constantly. The way an artist will study a still life, I find myself documenting and cataloguing places and things in the strange library of smell in my mind. It’s in the small details, the getting up close, and being completely present with a moment, experience, or beautiful object that inspires me.
TELL US ABOUT THE START OF TULIP & BEAR
Tulip & Bear is a relatively new project for me. I spent my twenties as an actress performing in NYC. I had started working with essential oils, making potions for my husband, sisters and friends. I wanted to help my husband with stress at work and thought if I could use essential oils in a candle I would not only help with stress but also elevate his workspace aesthetically. So I created my first candle, Midnight Oil, made from handsome black soy wax poured in smoky gray glass. At that point it was still just a hobby. The idea of actually having a candle company was daunting as I knew nothing about being a business owner, but I took it a day at a time. The more I shared candles with people and saw their response, I felt more confident that Tulip & Bear could be a real business.
WHEN YOU GET IN A CREATIVE RUT, HOW DO YOU GET UN-STUCK?
Since I was a little girl I wrote in a journal. Writing for me is a way to clear my head. When I’m having a hard time being creative it’s usually because I have too much insecurity, anxiety, or tension to let my mind go. Expressing on the page all that roams through my brain helps me process and digest, almost like being a therapist for myself. From there my thoughts and ideas can flow at ease having left the garbage behind.
I would also encourage people to create or find the environment that makes you feel like being creative, be it a coffee shop, hotel lobby, or Adirondack chair in the forest. It is hard to be creative in a cubicle. Discover the space that inspires you and go there, often.
I also highly recommend “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, an in depth guide to unlocking creativity in even the most stoic. It’s a fun book to go through with a friend or in a group.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A FELLOW CREATIVE?
Be inspired by other creatives, revel in what others are producing but then look inside and find the voice, gift, skill that is uniquely yours. Ask yourself where does your skill and passion live? You will not be able to mimic someone else’s creativity so it’s best to find your own and then pursue and feed it with abandon!
Want to fill your home with the fragrance of Kindling or know someone who could use Tulip & Bear’s Midnight Oil? Follow along the Tulip & Bear journey here:
PS – If you are looking for a fun one to try, New Moon is my absolute favorite