You can make it at new candle shop

Beatrice Taylor Candles is in High Hand
By: Kathy Maynard, Loomis News Correspondent
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Beatrice Taylor Candles

What: Locally handmade and custom made candles, soaps, oils, pottery, scented cards and gifts

Owner: Amanda Duncan

Where: High Hand Fruit Shed, 3750 Taylor Road

Hours: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Thursday to Sunday

Candleworks Workshops

Where: High Hand Iron Foundry, 3750 Taylor Road

When: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, or by appointment

Information: 212-0683 or


A local candlemaker has turned a hobby into a business by presenting the best that Placer County agriculture and artists have to offer.

Tucked into a back corner of High Hand Fruit Shed, Beatrice Taylor Candles offers a cornucopia of natural handmade candles, soaps, oils and scented cards made with locally grown fruits such as strawberries, pears and mandarins and botanicals including lily of the valley, lavender and gardenia.

Founder Amanda Duncan, previously a graphic artist and web designer, moved from the Bay Area 20 years ago with her husband, Kevin, to raise their three children in Placer County. She named the shop after her resourceful English grandmother, who lived through two world wars and never wasted anything. She saved every button and remade every coat and pair of trousers into something else over and over again, she said.

“She always made everything and was very picky about the finish, which is something I carry with me. I’m very conscientious about quality and what’s in our products, so everything is biodegradable, recycled or better for the environment,” Duncan said.

That includes using natural ingredients like bees wax, goat’s milk and palm, coconut and olive oils as well as packaging made from recycled cardboard tubes and canning jars. The labels are originally painted by local artists Paula Amerine, Unni Stevens and Susan Cawthorne, then printed, cut and applied in-house by hand.

The only products not made onsite are the custom designed candle plates, votive holders, luminaries and other pottery created by Marianne DeMartini, of Auburn. Everything else is produced in the High Hand Iron Foundry, located behind the art gallery, where Duncan also offers high temperature paraffin candle-making workshops for individuals and groups, including birthday parties, bridal showers, ladies’ groups and kindergarten classes.

“I’ve taken her classes several times and it’s always a new experience. You never quite know how the candles will turn out and it’s a surprise when she takes them out of the mold. It’s fabulous, you feel so satisfied with what you have done for the day,” said Ellen Mann, of Loomis.

Duncan began making candles in 2008, after her husband bought her a tiny melter and a few supplies. She enjoyed it so much that she made hundreds of candles for Christmas, then decided to get bigger melters and more equipment. She also did a lot of research on fragrances, learning about air quality issues with the chemicals often used to make candles.

“So, I started using essential oil-based fragrances and natural waxes to make palm, soy and coconut oil candles, which are soft, clean and slow burning. I even make a couple of massage candles that you can burn and use the warm wax as moisturizer and massage oil,” she said.

Duncan sold her candles at local farmers’ markets and craft fairs for a couple years before looking into selling candles at High Hand Nursery. Owner Scott Paris suggested she move her operation to the Iron Foundry, where she developed a line of wax fruit in gel candles that look like preserves in canning jars that were displayed in an old Model T truck in the nursery.

She opened the shop last summer, creating a unique atmosphere of sights and aromas to reflect the agricultural bounty and history of High Hand Fruit Sheds and the community. She continues to expand her line of products, which will soon be distributed nationally.


“Placer County is an incredible place filled with art and food and wine and flavor. There’s something special going on at High Hand. I try to pull that into the store, really supporting and celebrating everything we have here,” she said.