I make things using a number of materials, but my painted and cut out wooden beings are what I define myself through most. (Examples here.) I always get excited when I come across other artists who use the medium in a similar way. Here are some of my current favourites. Above:Max Estes.
I made some wrapping paper yesterday using potatoes and the two paint colours that I happened to have at home: it was way too hot to go near that furnace of a studio. I think the last time I made a potato print I was ten. I have grand plans to do something fancier next time.
Merry merry Christmas everyone! May you have a day full of warmth and love, wherever you are.
I can make lots of things, but I have never made a fancy cake like the ones that people actually PAY for. So when the production designer at work asked me if I could make a butterfly cake for his daughter's birthday, I was extremely flattered but very tempted to say no. However as my new motto is to say yes to all but the most ridiculous of challenges, I naively took it up. My dear friend (and colleague)JP gave me wonderful advice, gleaned from both personal experience and devouring fancy baking shows on Foxtel. Then it was on to Bake Bossto get some advice and an idea of the cost. One of the first things that the lovely women there said unanimously was "that job requires fondant!" Fondant to me is as foreign as brake fluid and wheel alignment. However after a couple of calming pep talks, I bought said fondant, kneaded and rolled it, cut out some butterfly shapes and left it to dry. (A pair and a spare: thank goodness my props job has taught me the wisdom making extra, as the first one I made ended up horribly pock marked!) The template you can see above is an enlargement of the butterfly that the production designer sent as inspiration.
My mum very kindly allowed me to use her kitchen, her fancy oven and her baking skills as the 40 x 40 cm cake tin certainly would not have fit into my temperature gauge-less little 1970s Kitchen Maid. The size of the tin required that the chocolate cake recipe be tripled. Thank you Mum for all of your help!
After it was cooled (on a spare oven rack!) the cake was cut into the butterfly shape, then iced using a good old fashioned Women's Weekly chocolate frosting.
Then it was back to the fondant. The first coat of aqua pearl paint did not look great. I was scared.
The second coat made the effect much more opaque. After it dried I added the black details, placed the butterfly on the cake, stuck little pink pearls on with special gel, then strewed bronze coloured sugary bits around the edges (it would have been nicer if they had been a bit paler). Initially I had wanted to surround the cake with little hydrangea flowers, but I read that they were poisonous so I stuck little pink pearls around instead. (Shhh: this was all to hide my mediocre frosting job.)
The offcuts were sliced and iced and taken to the studio Christmas party.
Sorry about the bad i-phone photos.
This is a crazy time of year! I hope that you have all had a restful Sunday.
This blog is both a record of my work and an attempt to contribute to the vast inspiration that thousands of other creative people have given me via the internet.
I worked for many years in the fashion industry, designing prints, textiles and developing products for children. I now work as a freelance illustrator and make a variety of work under my own name. Some of the things that I make can be found in my etsy shop and in galleries and stores around Australia.