When Jotanya Belton traveled to New Orleans post-Katrina, she was compelled to purchase soy candles from a local vendor. It wasn't long before she set out researching ways to make her own. Beyond the fact that they're made from soybean oil, a renewable resource, soy candles are different than the paraffin breed in that they burn clean: There's no soot. Belton, whose product line is dubbed West 30 Candles, uses cotton wicks (minus the metal wire found in some candles) and makes them in batches of four. When she first started experimenting in the summer of 2006, she used a small crockpot-like contraption. These days the vat in her extra bedroom holds 250 liquid pounds. Belton uses fragrance oils that are safe for the skin (they can actually be used in bath products) instead of essential oils, which tended to create more soot when she tested them. There are now 12 scents — we're big fans of Plumeria — as well as a handful of rotating holiday scents. Belton is currently seeking placement in larger department stores as well as a permanent studio location. Catch a whiff of her homemade 8-ounce West 30 Candles, $12, at Sheppard Street Antiques, 103 S. Sheppard St., or buy direct from west30candles.com.