Monday, June 18, 2012

Sugar Flowers and Sharing...

My Passion for Sugar Flowers

Has it really been over 10 years since I started decorating cakes and cookies??? That is when I first learned of sugar flowers and taking my very first class with Nicholas Lodge. Yes, one class one yellow rose changed my path.. 

The top yellow flower is from one of Alan Dunn's books.. I made one in Orange too

Gumpaste Lily in yellow and orange

I was making them for fun quite a while. As I learned more the more I wanted to make and then I began to perfect them. I followed Alan Dunn with his books making many of his flowers learning how to add texture and shaping to bring them to life. Just looking at his photos was so helpful...It was and is very excitng to recreate a flower out of sugarpaste to look so real.

This is from an Alan Dunn's book too, one of my favorites

Over the years I added cutters and veiners to my collection and way too many dusting colors to my supply. Well, not enough dusting colors since I still buy them!!! I am always on the search for veiners and cutters since new products are always coming out. As for the cutters I don't always buy a new one, sometimes I use one from a set I already have or bend a cutter or trim the paste after I cut it out. I can now shape petals with tools I have and can look at fresh flowers and see the details I need to add. It is very interesting at how I look at flowers now, it more like analyzing!!!

Tiny purple orchids from an Alan Dunn book.. These are my favorite orchids to make so far

purple gumpaste orchids

So, it has been slow going but I am beginning to teach this wonderful sugar art. I hope there are many decorators who would love to learn to create lifelike flowers for their cakes. I am glad of all who follow what I do and all the compliments and ideas I am given. I love to look at sugar flowers from other decorators and get ideas or learn something new or different. Yes, I have my favorites too!!!

Look for my info I will post later this week about the classes I will start to offer...


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Adding Color to Sugar Flowers

Wow.. the petal dust really does make the flower go from just so so looking to amazingly realistic. This is my absolutely favorite part of making the sugar flowers 

Good exmaple of blending colors so they look natural

Good example of adding color

To me it seems like painting but with dry powder to get all the colors and the shades to blend just right. And whenever I do a demo or display my sugar flowers there is usually a painter just by chance looking at my work. I usually ask them what they think of the colors. They always have something nice to say which makes me feel awesome. I just learned by doing and trying this and that by looking at photos or real flowers.

I begin most flowers in white paste only because I like the ability to make the colors as deep or as pale as I want them. If I want petals to have two colors in a few different shades I like to apply the colors to the sections I want on a plain white slate.

I have never seen other sugar flower people add color and not sure everyone uses dusting colors. Some use airbrushes. I am asked a lot if I would like to airbrush. No!! is my answer. One thing I don't know how and learning to use one will take some time. The other thing is I love to add petal dust with brushes. It is quite fun.

Here you can see a yellow flower with Orange tips and deeper yellow center

Very subtle color added at the tips and center of flower

So, These are the basic steps I do to add the petal dust. Let's say I am using yellow and pink..
  • I first dig through all my yellow and pink colors and choose the shades I might like. Yes, I have a lot of shades and I am always getting more. 
  • I get out my plastic plate (it cleans up nicely) and my small pallet tray. 
  • I look at the photo of the colors I am going for.  
  • I begin with the lightest of the shade of color that covers the most area first.
  • Then I add the next color in the lightest shade. Now the whole petals should be covered
  • Now I go back and add the highlights of the deeper shades of the colors and tinge the edges
  • Always blend the colors with the brush so they just don't stop a a certain point like a line.
That is it in a nutshell but that is just a very short explanation. I mix colors, overlap colors, I sometimes add whites and lighter shades of the color if the color turns out too dark. It just takes practice and practice to learn how apply the petal dust.

One hint is to try on a bad petal or make extras to try it out on..

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Beautiful Gladiola

I was asked by a fellow cake decorator who saw my sugar flowers if I had made a Gladiola? 

She wanted to make one for a cake and she bought the cutters, but didn't know how to make them.  No, I haven't I told her, but if she sent me a photo of the Gladiola she was interested in making and her cutters I will make one and tell you how.

I went on line and looked at Gladiolas like the photo she sent me and I also visited some nurseries to see them in person. I actually love to learn to make a new flowers on my own and not following any sugar artist method. It is a great challenge to me and when I do get it just how I want it I am sooo very excited. I love feedback I get also when I post it and ask for suggestions or thoughts  of others.

Here is the flower I found on line that I am going to make. I just love the colors

A real Gladiola

After looking at the flowers a while and studying how the petals are arranged and the texture the flower has I found a cutter and a Styrofoam shaper that would work perfectly.. I also had the texture tool I use quite often and it would work just fine. 

The toughest part of making a flower the first time is shaping them to dry to come out like you want them. Sometimes I think I know what will work, but then I realize I shaped part of it wrong. With this flower I shaped the tips of the petals just how I wanted them, but the bottom of the petals I curved in just a bit too much so they wouldn't lay as flat as I hoped.

Here is the finish flower after fiddling with organizing the petals.. 

Gumpaste Gladiola (my first go of it

I do have a few adjustments to make to the other flowers I will make to complete a Gladiola stalk. But all in all I seem to like it. I will be making an additional full open flower, a couple of buds and just opening flowers.