Scents, and sustainability

Deanna Dottai

Photo By Monica Unhold

Creating candles at Thursday Night Market is more than a way to help fund a college education for Deanna Dottai. The Chico State student views the art of melding colorful, fragrant wax creations as an exercise in sustainability, a way to be involved with the community, and personal therapy. As one of the few vendors who sells strictly locally made goods, she puts her sustainability major to use, selling candles, greeting cards and bracelets that are all handmade from recycled materials.

How did you get started making candles?

I made my first candle with a friend about two years ago. I needed a birthday present for my stepmom and she was just a friend that knew how. I brought her some of my wax, and I just got inspired. Last year I started doing it for fun—it was actually kind of therapeutic after my dad passed away. I didn’t have a job for a semester and people were like, “These are really awesome,” and that’s how the whole market idea came about. They’re all recycled and reused, too. I scour thrift stores for old candles. I give people a discount if they bring an old candle.

What about the other crafts?

I also sell matted photos, handmade paper cards, leather bracelets and mobiles made from driftwood and beach glass. One thing people think is kind of funny is that I use my old bills, along with receipts and junk mail. I just put it all in a blender and make recycled paper. For the bracelet idea I kind of played off something I saw at Pike Place Market up in Seattle. The photo thing is actually my original passion, so I hope that does well. But I like the sustainable aspect of all the other crafts. There’s only so much you can do with photography as far as keeping it sustainable.

Has the booth been fairly profitable?

Yeah, I don’t really do it for the money though. For me it’s a pleasure to be a part of the Thursday Night Market because I really love Chico as a community and I picture myself living here for a really long time. I think being a part of the community and not just a part of the university is really important because a lot of students get caught up with just that. So to be able to meet with the other vendors and talk with all different ranges of people who come to the market is really fun.