When I saw Heather Sherman’s cakes, I knew she was very talented, and I wanted to know more. How does she go about designing? What is her art process? I thought you would enjoy meeting Heather who has been an artist since childhood.
She says: If there is any one message I would share it is to never underestimate the power of cross-crafting. For example, I use power tool skills I learned while working construction for making cakes. I use my accounting skills to keep my own books. I use brush skills from canvas painting, and cutout styles from engraving. I use Chemistry skills when I bake, every time. The list goes on and on. A skill is a skill, the more you have, the more I feel you are capable of.
Thanks for being with us. You are certainly a multi-leveled artist!
*Would you share how you transitioned from your love of painting, drawing, photography and creating digital art into creating cake art?
It was quite organic, as are most inspirations. I simply saw something that looked fun, bought a few items, and began playing. That's how most my new media begin. It looks fun. That's all it takes. Soon I'm hooked, with a brand-new wish list of tools specific to that new media. That's where cross-crafting becomes useful. I would encourage anyone who feels inspired to take courage, buy a few tools, and PLAY. If cake interests you, I have a few tutorials on my website, and many are available online
*What is the hardest part of beginning a new design? Do you make sketches on paper first?
The hardest part of a new design is composing the Perfect Design for each Cake commission. It must first address the Client's personal uniqueness in a visually dramatic and recognizable fashion, with only a glance. It must have enough 'body' to contain a reasonable amount of cake. And finally it must skirt the border between amazing gravity-defiance and deliverable sturdiness. I compose both manually and digitally and then combine the two into a master plan that also includes a work schedule/timetable/organizational checklist.
*How much time does your art require? Do you create the final cake in one sitting?
The Giraffes you see above were a competition piece (although still real cake inside) and took a little under 60 hours. Average for an original design is about 30hrs, with best cakes around 40hrs. Most of my time is spent in gathering details, i.e., millions of tree leaf clumps, branches, grasses, flowers, properly tinted fondant prepared ahead of time, boards and internal structures. I use both gumpaste and modeling chocolate to model details. Gumpaste dries hard, but modeling chocolate stays a bit softer. Gumpaste and modeling chocolate are great fun. Gumpaste is available at most craft stores, and modeling chocolate/marshmallow fondant are both easily made at home (Google “Modeling Chocolate Recipe”). I will start gumpaste details as far as two weeks ahead for best results, but I do not bake until 2-3 days before the due date. I sculpt the cake and cover it almost immediately to insure a delicious tender cake inside, and then attach details, paint and finalize the design in the last day. Food safety is very important to me, as I firmly believe that if I am going to take the time for such a visually stunning cake it would be a travesty if the cake inside were not absolutely consumable AND delicious.
*What’s next for you? Have you thought about illustrating picture books using your cakes?
Ooooo...that sounds COOL. Great idea! I've always wanted to publish a book! As for What's next? I really never know. I promise it will be Following the Fun! And books are fun, so, who knows??
Heather lives in Colorado with her husband and two daughters. You can visit Heather’s website to view the many wonderful art cakes she has created.
(Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Art2EatCakes )
Thank you so much Heather. We love your art!