Eco-friendly Olive Oil Peace LampsFrancesca Palange
I’ve been making the Olive Oil Peace Lamps for about 25 years now. I currently wholesale them to the Queen Creek Olive Mill in Queen Creek, Arizona, as well as selling them online and at some of the local art fairs.
Originally I bought one in a gift shop because I thought it was a cool idea. A few weeks later I went back to the same gift shop to buy some more to give to friends, and they didn’t have any. In fact, they didn’t know what I was talking about! So, I decided to try making my own. I altered the design a bit, added a card with instructions, and started selling them. They are always a hit at the craft fairs!
As the story on the instruction card says, olive oil is renewable, unlike petroleum based fuels or candles. It’s made by a tree from sunlight, soil, and water. Olive oil has been used for thousands and thousands of years for lamps. And the branches of the olive tree have long been a symbol of peace.
But there are other reasons why these little olive oil lamps are eco-friendly. For one thing, they fit in just about any container — glass, metal, ceramic — that will hold the oil and withstand the heat. However, the containers you put an olive oil lamp in will not get as hot as when you burn a candle, whether it’s a petroleum-based paraffin or soy-based candle. They depend on liquefied solid wax, and that wax gets hot. It can make the container hot enough to crack or even shatter. Because olive oil is already liquid, it burns at the tip of the wick and doesn’t heat up the container. I can literally hold the votive cup in my hands while the lamp is burning!
And of course unlike commercial lamp oils, olive oil isn’t flammable if spilled. And spilt olive oil is a whole lot easier to clean up than melted candle wax!
I’ve been a “do more with less” kind of person for a very long time. The simplicity of the olive oil lamps appealed to me the minute I saw them in that gift shop. They’re made from copper wire and cotton yarn, and they use a clean, readily available fuel. They’re perfect to have on hand for emergency lighting or just for fun. They’re great to take camping. Instead of worrying that wax tea lights will melt in the car and make a mess, the fuel for olive oil lamps stays safe in its bottle until you need it. And that fuel isn’t dangerous, either. When I demonstrate them at art fairs, people can’t believe it’s really just plain old olive oil, until I taste it!
Each one I sell is hand made by me. I cut the wire, coil it, and shape the handle using only a few small hand tools and my own fingers. The wicks are all cut and twisted by hand, usually by me but sometimes with a little help from a grandson or two. I even make the origami boxes they’re packaged in.
This is the only planet we’ve got. It just makes sense to take care of it so we can leave it to future generations.
Get in touch with Linda via her Etsy shop, AZAngelFeathers