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Candles shed light on Relay For Life need

Nail sculptures speak for artist as prayers to community

CommuniCandles, made from nails by Michael DiDonato, below. Proceeds of the candleholders go to the American Cancer Society and is Relay For Life. Adam T. Silva. (click for larger version)
December 20, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — Michael DiDonato has found a way to combine his art and spirituality while helping a local charity at the same time.

Michael, a welder at Southbridge Tool and Manufacturing, creates what he calls CommuniCandles. The candleholders are built by welding old-fashioned cut nails into designs largely inspired by his Christian faith, such as Jesus on the cross. Tea lights sit on the top of the holders.

He gives the candleholders away, but if someone insists on paying, he requests that they donate $10 to the American Cancer Society. The Dream Team is the name of his team that participates in the Relay For Life Cancer Walk, which benefits the American Cancer Society.

The shop, owned by Michael's father and uncle, also employs two of his cousins. The name of the non-profit business he runs of making the CommuniCandles is Binding Light. He works on the projects every Sunday and referred to it ask like going to church.

"I grew up in this business," he said. "I couldn't escape it. I went to high school at Bay Path, where I learned machine shop. I grew up as an artist, working mostly with charcoal. I eventually found a way to combine my art with my spiritual beliefs and with welding."

The nails are donated by Tremont Nails, located in Mansfield. The owner of the company asked to see what Michael would be doing with the nails and then decided to donate them based on what he saw.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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