I've made bull kelp candles before, using the hollow bulb to fill with wax and a wick. But this time, as I was walking along the beach and saw some uprooted bull kelp, I noticed that the kelp still had their holdfasts attached, the part that anchors the kelp to submerged rocks.
The Scottish part of our family, on my mom's side, belongs to the MacLeod clan and their motto is: "Hold Fast." This phrase is also found as part of 1 Thessalonians 5:21, a favorite scripture. It always comes to mind when I'm writing letters to people who are going through a hard time.
I decided that I'd use a bull kelp holdfast to make a candleholder, to make a "Hold Fast Candle."
I chose a holdfast that was fairly large because it will shrink as it dries. I also looked for one that had attached itself to a flat rock so that it would provide a stable base. After unraveling the whip part of the kelp, I cut it several feet up, to where it began to thicken.
Back home I collected candles, super glue, and small, clear cannisters that I could stick the candles in. After glueing the cannister to the top of the holdfast I began winding the whip around it, glueing as I went. Fortunately, the kelp had been lying in the sun for a while so it was partly dried, which meant it was flexible and the glue would stick to it. My cat found this process particularly fascinating and kept slapping the end of the whip as I slowly wound it in place.
I was delighted with how the candleholder experiment turned out and can't wait to share them with family and friends as encouragement for them to "hold fast," no matter how tough things get.
Tara Neilson (ADOW)