We completed the whole term online via zoom again, and a floral theme was definitely the most popular this term but with beautiful results. All the lessons and information is stored in a private facebook group for each term which keeps everything neatly in place for you to watch again and again.
We had a beautiful selection of flowers and students worked in a mixture of sugar, air drying clay or cold porcelain.
The arrangement included one of the first ever flowers I made - Nigella Damascena, also known as Miss Jekyll or Love in the mist.
I was learning from books over 25 years ago, and Tombi said to learn from a real flower by taking it apart, making samples and recreating, and to use what is available to you.
So my first flower was a blackberry plant and the nigella as that is all that was growing in the garden of the property we were renting at the time.
As well as the Nigella, and its beautifully fringed leaves and pre-historic style bud, we made agapanthus flowers and buds, in two colours, with the blue still partly in its sheath. We also made the tricky Dianthus/Bleeding heart. I experimented with different methods before term started and put my step by step photos for both the Dianthus and Nigella in the private facebook group which are a handy reminder of different methods.
The Dianthus is particularly tricky as its flower changes so much as it opens. The green leaves are so beautiful. The final addition to this arrangement was Oxalis, also known as the purple shamrock, but when I was researching the flower, I found these gorgeous white flowers. I showed two different methods for the flower, one pulled and one with a cutter. I also experimented with colouring and showed three different methods for that too including the new Portaleo Paints.
Another flowery class. I demonstrated using a mixture of air drying Hearty soft deluxe and Modena cold porcelain but have also snuck in some stems in sugar too.
The hero flower is a pale peach dahlia with a stamen centre. The colour could be continued through to the outer petals, but it is equally effective just in the centre. The leaves add a fabulous shape to the arrangement.
The second flower is Fuschia. A beautiful flower with its hanging heads and ever changing buds and paired leaves with beautiful plum stripe at the base..
Third, we made Freesia with two different methods which hopefully gives a preferred method for everyone and finally the beautiful Lily of the valley. Two methods in this arrangement, the super simple plunger blossom method and my own method which adds more shaping. Only a few lily of the valley leaves in this arrangement shown using hand cut and simple veining but fab effects.
As much as I adore flowers, I also love a mixed class too, and this class certainly did not disappoint.
First we created the little doll from saracino with a hand made armature. This is the original that we based it on. I originally created her for a collaboration. (sadly I do not have a photo of my little doll with her short pig tails that we created in class as I had a clear out without realising I hadn't taken photos first.............oops!)
Next we created a carved hand bag cake. We carved the cake, ganached, covered with Renshaw sugarpaste we coloured ourselves. Next we created a free standing handle, hand made zip and clasp without using moulds and then added texture and trim before texturing and painting the board paste to look like wooden floorboards.
Finally we also made a dahlia and leaves but with a different centre this time and using heart soft deluxe air drying clay. I love the colour of this cream one.
Another mix class, but this time, three separate floral projects all produced using hearty soft deluxe air drying clay. This was a great development class working from simple using standard sugar flower methods and working through to covering stems with paste for permanent flowers that can be arranged in a vase time and time again.
We made a cherry blossom branch that looks as if it has just been plucked off the tree of semi double cherry blossoms and a few leaves just appearing and used my taping method to add texture to the stem.
Next we made a Moth Orchid plant complete with buds, leaves and roots. We used florist tape to cover the stems in this project, but the final project of the term, the orange rose we covered all of the stems in the same paste and experimented with using oil paints to colour and also talked about pan pastel art colours to colour feature pieces such as these. These flowers are not meant to go on cakes, but are designed to be a permanent arrangement and can be a perfect gift.
- Why the clay you ask?
well, have you ever made a beautiful arrangement of sugar flowers and then knocked them off your table and are left with shattered petals? I know I have.
When we use the clays or cold porcelain to practise, we can keep our project to refer to in the future, it can be adjusted even when it is dry (all these tips you get in class) and will last forever. I have used cold porcelain and hearty soft deluxe as sprays for wedding cakes, and this can be done safely as long as you always use your posy pick and either have them free standing away and not touching the icing or by providing a barrier which can even be using sugar leaves as a nest beneath the arrangement.
Mythical Creatures Facebook Live Demonstration - part one - The Faun
This a new format and way to learn for 2021.
Demonstrations held in a private facebook group. Each demonstration is 2 1/2 - 3 hours and some subjects such as the Faun had three lessons plus I filmed an additional lesson to create the landscaping.
This is an intermediate class where I taught how to design and create an appropriate armature for the character and explain how to use either on a cake or on a board.
I used saracino to create the piece, showing how to texture for the fur, hair and the clothing.
Most importantly we created a brand new figure design and I show my processes for doing this, including a detailed face and hands.
I will be holding more demonstrations in the mythical creatures series so watch the website for details.
This demonstration is still available for you to join and there is over 10 hours of tuition waiting in the group for you along with templates measurements and equipment list. You can book on the website.
Island Cake Facebook Live Demonstration
I have taught this in two terms of my weekly classes now and it was requested as a stand alone lesson, so here is the finished result!
Island Cakes are incredibly popular at the moment, not only do you get cake with tasty ganache, you also get jelly too, perfect for parties.
I taught the class using Agar Agar instead of gelatine (although I do talk about gelatine use too) as it is suitable for many more people.
I teach how I use Agar Agar with my own recipe and methods as well as sharing the honey cake recipe from my book which is absolutely perfect for the foliage and makes very believable trees and shrubs.
I show how to carve, ganache and add detail to the cake before adding the details including small cliff faces in this class.
The tutorial was split into three parts (thanks fb!) which is sometimes unavoidable, but actually worked out quite useful as it has split different sections allowing you to watch at your leisure.
There is also a helpful handout for you for future use.
Everything is held in a private facebook group, and although the live has already happened, you are still able to join this demonstration as the recordings and all the information are all there ready for you, and don't worry, you can still ask questions as you make your cake.
Wow! So much for you to catch up on. - What is next
So, that is one busy but fabulous term completed, now I am working on the next term which will be both in person and online and run for 10 weeks at a cost of £100 (still £10 per session).
You bring your own ingredients and equipment.
How will that work?
We will have to wait until August the 9th to find out whether social distancing reduces to 1m as it has done in other areas of the UK, so for now, the in person places have first refusal to the existing students who have also been voting on the subjects for September, but all classes will have an online function too, as I will be using Zoom recording my hands for those students learning from home.
What it does mean for students in the school is that the recording of my hands will be projected onto a TV behind me so you can see close ups without having to move. Perfect!
I will also be setting up new weekly classes on a Tuesday morning and an evening (day to be chosen) as well as both all-inclusive and bring-your-own taster sessions through the summer.
I am also going to re-schedule postponed classes that have students already booked on, so I will be getting in touch with you over the next fortnight. You also have the option to transfer any deposits you have made to other new classes I am scheduling.
So look out for the next Blog post at the end of the week
Take care and Happy Caking.