Monday, June 25, 2012

What's going on here???

So I told you I finally finished my PhD-- but now what's going on here??

Well, first I had to catch my breath.  Ten years of college and writing a dissertation really take a lot out of you.  To celebrate, I'm taking a 12 day trip to South Africa, leaving July 4th.  I'll be going to Cape Town, Kruger National Park, and Victoria Falls, and boy am I excited.  Hoping to have fabulous pictures to share with you all!!

Now of course there's never a dull moment for me, and there's some pretty big news.  First, I started working part time last week at Highland Bakery in the Old Fourth Ward in Atlanta.  If you've never been, it's one of the top rated brunch places and is also the residence of fabulous cake and sugar artist, Karen Portaleo.  So I am now a part-time member of her fabulous team, and I'm very excited about it.  I'll be sure to start bringing my camera to work so you can see what's going on over there. :)

On top of that, I am pleased to announce that I have officially found a way to fully integrate Cake and Engineering.   I have officially formed The Cake Engineer LLC in Georgia, and this will be my company for classes and supplies.  That's right, you might have noticed I implemented a 'Buy Now' button on right side of this blog for my stiletto instructions, and that's just the beginning.  While this is in its infancy stages, I will be developing specialized cutters and molds for the gum paste stilettos, class DVD's, new classes, and more!  These things take time, but watch for new changes coming this way!

In the mean time, I intend to write some more blog posts-- not just about cakes or sugar art projects that I've made, but with some general info for cake artists, brides-to-be, and cake enthusiasts alike.

Stay tuned, and as always, please let me know if there's something you'd like to see here!  Can't wait to share this big adventure with all of you.

Have a delicious day. :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Intro to Pulled and Blown Sugar with Mark Seaman

On Thursday and Friday this past week, I was fortunate to take an introductory pulled and blown sugar class with Mark Seaman at the International Sugar Art Collection in Studio B.

Mark was a great teacher and many different techniques were covered.  I learned a ton!

The rose and green leaves were made by pulling sugar.  I was NOT prepared for how HOTTTTTT the sugar would be.  I had on multiple pairs of latex gloves and at times still felt like I was being scalded.  I had to throw down my sugar sometimes because the heat would get to be so much.  So I think I need to find more heat resistant gloves or be prepared for numbness of the hands if I decide to practice my sugar pulling skills.

We also tried blowing sugar into spheres and peach shapes.  I finally got one sphere I was okay with, but again, the sugar was very hot when malleable and then cooled off quickly and became difficult to manipulate.

It was difficult to adhere the sugar to the copper tube that delivered the air from the pump.  But at least I got one sphere I was reasonably happy with.

We learned some other skills involving pouring and casting (read: no need to scald your hands!)

You can see a poured sugar plate under my rose sculpture and a more mosaic-like poured sugar tile.

So there's lots you can do even without the burning sensation!! :)

Hot sugar is definitely very different from gum paste-- it snaps and shatters easily and burns your hands when soft.  But you can create so many neat effects!

I definitely had a great time in class.  But boy will these skills take some practice!   Will have to decide if I'm willing to invest in the heat lamp and other necessary accessories if I'm going to continue trying to pull and blow sugar.  But even just with casting you can do some pretty awesome stuff!  I feel inspired.