(WBIR-Gatlinburg) There's a place in Gatlinburg where candles go way beyond practical.
"It's just really been a blessing to do this for 30 years," Stephanie Lang said.
That's how long Stephanie Lang has been at Village Candles. Her late husband started the Gatlinburg business in 1970.
"It's just your imagination. Whatever you feel like doing," she said.
They feel like making candles. A lot of candles. And not just your typical tapers. Over the years they've made about 2,000 different candle molds they can use over and over again. Different colors and patterns allow for seemingly infinite designs.
"We do get special orders. The dog that's black with a white spot on their head. We'll try. They'll bring a picture. And it's like we'll try what Fido looks like we'll try to make Fido," she explained.
"Oscar in the back, he takes the mold and pours the hot wax in there," she said.
That's Oscar Lewis.
"We just pour that wax in and let it dry about an hour," Oscar said.
He stacks up the plain white candles until Tim Ramsey is ready for them.
"It only takes like two seconds to dry," Tim demonstrated.
Stephanie said, "Then we bring it out here with the different colored wells and we either hand paint or hand dip each one."
Henry Buskirk's specialty is dipping candles again and again until he gets a color he likes. Then he carefully carves the creations.
Tim usually dips and paints. For example, he makes sure the colored liquid wax is ready to transform a plain white candle into a frog.
It's cute but it's not the most popular.
"The little mouse. I don't know if you saw it or not. It's just cute. The way you draw the eyes it just changes its whole personality. And then the bears. Of course you can't come to the Smokies without having a bear so the bears are popular," Stephanie said.
Some of the candles are angels and eagles and owls.
"We hear that a lot, these are just too pretty top burn. They make good decorations," she said.
You can burn some of the candles and they'll keep their design because the wick goes straight down.
"Anything that's got any kind of diameter it just burns right down through the middle and you can keep it," she said.
After decades in business, customers just keep coming back for the keepsake candles.
"We love to hear we'll be back next year," she said.
Village Candles is in Gatlinburg near the Glades Road arts community at traffic light 3-A.