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Guiding Light

Candles aren’t the only items
on special at Christy’s Candles

Art classes also taught upstairs by Judi Owens

By Tess Worrell
Contributing Writer

(December 2012) – For nearly 25 years, Christy Brogan has brightened homes throughout Madison, Ind., with her hand-made candles. Starting with a few candles in her husband’s video store, she has grown a thriving business with a loyal following.
Along with her daughter, co-owner Regina Weber, Brogan uses her success to support local artists, craftspeople, and – more recently – those struggling with illness.

Christy Brogan and Regina Weber

Photo by Tess Worrell

Christy Brogan (left) and
her daughter, Regina Weber,
operate Christy’s Candles.

Brogan’s success began one Christmas when she decided to include candles to round out the baskets of baked goods she was giving as presents to relatives. She had a few candles left over, and her husband, John, took them to his store. To Brogan’s surprise, they sold immediately.
She decided to make more candles and took out a small advertisement in the Country Sampler newspaper. Orders came pouring in. Though she originally had her workshop at home and would work as she talked with her children, she soon opened a store on Main Street. She outgrew both the Main Street store and one on Clifty Drive and finally moved the store to the home where she and John raised their children. She has been at her current location on Michigan Road (just across from Taco Bell) for about 13 years.
Brogan and Weber now pour candles six days a week. They begin by wicking the jars, then pour the candles – hundreds at a time. After letting the candles sit overnight, they top off the candles to ensure a beautiful finish. Known for their rich fragrances and 44 choices, Christy’s Candles are a local favorite.
“We offer candles of every kind,” says Weber, 34. “We have tapers, pillars, votives and tarts. For those who like primitive, we also do grubbies.”
Though one room is filled with candles, Christy’s Candles has become a full home décor store. Brogan stocks jewelry, scarves, aprons and wood pieces – all by local craftspeople.
“I love Madison and want to promote the work of people here,” says Brogan, 53. “We have such wonderful products, and people want to connect locally.” She also sells Signature Houseware stoneware dishes, along with Wind and Willow soup, cheese ball and dip mixes.

Judi Owens

Photo by Tess Worrell

Judi Owens teaches art of
all skill levels upstairs at Christy’s
Candles in Madison, Ind.

Brogan has expanded her support of local artists by opening a full gallery in the upper story of her store. Paintings of local favorites, such as Robert Saueressig, Carolyn Lopez, and Judi Owens grace the walls, and wood pieces by Gary Taylor add beauty to the two rooms. “We’ve had a great response. People really like having a gallery on the hilltop,” says Owens.
A third room of the second story has been turned into an art studio with a full range of art classes. Owens offers classes for students from 4 years old to adult. “The children’s classes focus more on water color, drawing and trying different media. The adults explore acrylics, oils and mixed media.”
A recent children’s class featured the children writing a poem then illustrating with a variety of techniques taught by Owens.
“I always try to introduce some element of art history for the children. Though they likely won’t remember what was said, it begins to shape their minds toward art and makes the terms familiar for the next time,” says Owens. Classes meet for two hours twice a month and cost approximately $20. Contact Christy’s for full details.
When Brogan’s husband contracted cancer, Owens and Brogan teamed to offer a unique outreach through the art classes.
“When my husband was ill, we saw all this art hanging on the walls of the cancer treatment center. I finally asked who did the pieces and was told it was by the patients,” says Brogan. “I learned that it helped them to be able to get their feelings out by painting. It was beautiful.”
After her husband died, Brogan decided to put her experience to work to help others. Christy’s Candles plans to hold monthly classes to encourage those dealing with chronic or terminal illness to come and take a breather from dealing with their illness by focusing on art. The classes are free and open to anyone who would like to participate. Brogan donates proceeds from her store’s sales to furnish the art supplies.
Owens assures those considering the classes that they won’t be frustrated by having to “do it right.” “We don’t even use brushes,” says Owens. “Instead, the focus is on using color to express feelings – to get them out when words won’t come.”
Brogan said she looks forward to greeting customers throughout the holidays, both those who have been coming for years and those she will meet this season. “We love getting to know people and helping them find something locally made that meets their needs,” says Brogan. She said she eagerly anticipates another year of brightening both hearts and homes.

Back to December 2012 Articles.

 

 

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