Barbara Lawlor, Nederland. Stephen Quigley knew there was a more environmentally friendly way to make candles. He just wanted the chance to do it himself. Quigley has set up shop in the street-front bay in the Kathmandu Plaza where he sells his candles, oil lamps and tie dyes. He is where he wants to be. He came from North Carolina and spent 25 years of his life making candles.
“I always wanted bigger and more beautiful mountains,” he says. Five years ago he and his wife Michelle and their children moved to Nederland. She went to work at New Moon Bakery and created her own line of hats, hemp jewelry and tie dyes.
Stephen returned to lighting the way with his candles. He had worked for a long time in a large candle factory, dipping tapir candles into a huge vat of wax, about 100 at a time. He says he learned that paraffin has toxic properties and he knew there had to be a better way.
With a long-time love for rocks guiding him, he began using rocks as beautiful bases for his plant-based oil candles. He has managed to make a living, bringing his work to concerts and music festivals. They traveled with their children.
“We exposed the kids to music and culture,” Stephen said. At one point in his life he played in a rock band. When they had a gig at CU, he visited Nederland and fell in love, telling himself he would live here someday. By the end of July, he was settled in to his new shop in the old Brightwood Music Store across from the Presbyterian Church. It was a quiet opening and he has been doing well since then.
When he first came to Nederland he noticed that everyone seemed to wear earth colors and he decided to brighten things up a bit, to bring some color into the style.
“It is apparent that tie dye is coming back into fashion,” he says. “So are tie dye tapestries.”
Stephen realized that tourists like to go back home with a piece of Colorado so he used petrified wood from Rocky Mountain National Park for his candles and plans to sell them at the Holiday Mountain Market in Nederland.
The hippie movement is like a wave that never fades away, says Stephen. “It has never faded for me and now it has started again.” At the age of 50 he is happy to have a laid back setting where he doesn’t have to feel the pressure of making enough money every day. He’d rather spend his energy on creating art.
Joining artistic forces
Stephen and his good friend Andre Nobrega decided to share the space and split the rent. He decided that the place had good vibes from the previous music store and a tattoo studio would be the perfect fit. Andre has been a local artist Stephen thought he’d be fun to work with.
Andre has shown his plein air paintings in several places around town and has become known in the artists’ circle. Originally from Brazil, Andre had always hoped to have his own shop. The entrance into the studio is through Stephen’s portion of the place.
A large light table and a recliner mat in a deep purple room greet a visitor. Andre says his background in painting helped him to create his colored tattoos. Andre also does piercings and free mastectomy scar covering.
Andre claims he has adopted Nederland and wants to work with the community and their needs, wants to give back to the town that finally gave him a place of his own. Andre can be reached at (720) 695-8468.