A rock with flames shooting from it is a curious sight, and it has a name that is just as curious.
Grandles are something new for Norsk Hstfest visitors this year.
Ernie and Carla Hoch of Chewelah, Wash., create the rock candles, often from granite, and sell them at art venues. This is their first time to Hstfest. The Hochs, originally from Wolf Point, Mont., learned about Hstfest after Ernie's parents attended.
Jill Schramm/MDN •
Ernie and Carla Hoch, left, look over their display of grandles, candles made with rocks, at Norsk Høstfest Wednesday.
Carla Hoch said she went back to her Swedish great-great-grandparents to establish her Hstfest credentials. Scandinavia enthusiasts who flocked to her booth in Stockholm Hall quickly snatched up most of her candles made from rock from Norway. Other candles made from crystals, fossils, agates, onyx, granite, quartz and other stones also have been popular.
The stones have a reservoir underneath that holds the oil that feeds the fiberglass wicks, inserted into holes drilled through the stones.
Carla Hoch said the grandles were an idea borne out of necessity six years ago.
"Corporate America threw me away," she said with a smile that betrays a lack of regret today. "I had 27 years business experience but no college degree so nobody would hire me."
She used her business savvy to figure out that there was potential in the left-over granite pieces that monument and home improvement companies were throwing or giving away. The Hochs mulled over the possibilities before developing and copyrighting an idea for turning stone into candles. A concept that seemed so simple in design was a challenge to bring to fruition, though.
"We almost quit three times," Carla Hoch said.
They eventually were able to explain their ideas to suppliers and get the tools and materials needed.
The Hochs, who choose to avoid debt, live in a bus and have the outdoors as their workshop. It's there they break up slabs of rock, perform the edge finishing and assemble the candles.
They still rely on left-overs from home interior projects to obtain rocks that can come from around the world. Their unique finds have included rock from New Zealand with garnets and rock from Israel with fossils. They also have made use of lava rock from Oregon, petrified wood from Arizona and glacial rock from Montana that they've picked up themselves as well as fool's gold from a copper mine behind their home. They import prepared rock from Morocco and Madagascar.
But once a slab of rock is gone, it's gone.
"Everything is one of a kind," Carla Hoch said of their creations.
Some stones include designs etched by her 19-year-old son, she said.
Their collection has included a series of rocks in the shape of U.S. states, but Hoch said they are limited edition and won't be renewed once the last are sold.
The grandles end up on people's patios, hot tubs, mantles or as table centerpieces bordered by flowers or greenery. The Hochs provide buyers with recipes for adding scents that won't smoke or soot. The candles burn for seven hours before the reservoir needs to be refilled with Ultra Pure oil, found at certain hardware stores.
More information about grandles is available online at (www.grandles.com).