What Did You Do To Become The ....

Decorating By sugarcheryl Updated 15 Mar 2009 , 9:06pm by Redlotusninjagrl

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sugarcheryl Posted 13 Mar 2009 , 1:20pm
post #1 of 18

CAKE DECORATOR that you are today?I know many on here have had a background in arts of some sort. But most of us did not have that exposure could you tell when you first started cake decorating how often did you practice or to horn your skills? I know we never arrive always learning and developing. Please bear with me but the reason I'm asking because I was thinking about different people the famous athletes or entertainers or just people who are really great at what they do and the common thread is they practice and spent a lot of hours developing there talent. So I was wondering if that's what some of you did. I know I tend to be hard on myself and it maybe me but there is a look I'm after in my work and it's got to be me because I was like this when I was a hairstylist I saw a particular artist work and wanted my work to look like that I'm not talking about copying. I'm talking about style because you feel that represent you. Like simple but sleek or elegant. You have the more fun whimsical. I hope you all understand what I'm trying to say. icon_rolleyes.gif

17 replies
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indydebi Posted 13 Mar 2009 , 1:32pm
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I think you have to have an inclination toward a particular skill and it just surfaces. My sister is a canvas artist .... she can't draw a dang thing with icing, but that's ok because I can't draw a dang thing with paint. icon_eek.gif

If you aren't born with at least SOME singing talent, all the lessons in the world wont' get you there. If you aren't born with SOME creative talent, be it in icing or in yarn and knitting needles, or in paint and canvas, then you're just not going to get there.

So celebrate that hidden talent that God gave you! There's more than once that I stepped back and said, "Wow! I made that?"

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sugarcheryl Posted 13 Mar 2009 , 2:26pm
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I agree with you indydebi it's got to be in you. So when you saw that it was through cake decorating did you just practice designs over and over?

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tracycakes Posted 13 Mar 2009 , 2:47pm
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I think that hard work and practice come in too. There has to be a talent but hard work can overcome also. How many of us were able to make a buttercream rose the first time we tried it, not many. For some of us, it took a while.

I tried many times to decorate a cake, the desire was there, but I just couldn't get the hang of how to use those tips. So, I took my first Wilton class and went from there. I admire those that are self-taught but I am a visual person and usually need some instruction. But then, it is up to me to practice and hone those skills. I started working with fondant and gumpaste about 2 years ago and although I haven't made that many cakes compared to some other people, my skills have really improved. I just plan to keep trying new things and practicing until I get it. I think that is key to any skill whether it is cake decorating, playing an instrument, whatever, you have to practice, practice, practice.

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sweet1122 Posted 13 Mar 2009 , 2:47pm
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For me personally, I started making my son's birthday cakes. Then started making other cakes. Then decided to take the classes, primarily to learn flowers and to refine a few skills I knew I lacked, but I didn't have the time to commit to the amount of practice outside of the classes. Making the icing and preparing the bags and baking the cakes and the mess that went along with it was more than I could handle. So, I still can't do flowers. I think that's one skill you have to practice over and over and over. I'm just not that committed. I don't even practice borders. I say I'll do a practice cake, but the final cake ends up being my practice cake. And little by little they get better and better. So, as far as practice, not so much outside of taking every opportunity I can to make a cake so I can call that my practice.

I don't have an artistic bone in my body. I can't draw crap with a pencil. But I can sure do a pretty good job copying an image in icing. Copy that same image with pen and paper, forget it. Weird.

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sugarcheryl Posted 13 Mar 2009 , 3:52pm
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okay traceycakes thats what I was trying to get at. I looked at your work it's beautiful and you say it's because you practice and about how many hours or time. But you all have to admit you must have some artistic or creative ability but we all know there a varying degrees and I guess that's the beauty of it all. We have to admit that even if you practice and practice we may only be able to go so far. You say do not have an artistic bone in your body but you do. You recognize colors, lines etc. Having artistic ability is not limited to just drawing I found but I bet you probably could use that pencil for something else in an art form.

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bakingatthebeach Posted 14 Mar 2009 , 10:51pm
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My room mate got me started with cakes 22 years ago. Then I started doing cakes for work and each time would challenge myself to do something different and interesting just to see if I could. But I have always had an artistic side, drawing and writing calligraphy, but my real job is nursing, which really isnt that artistic

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classiccake Posted 15 Mar 2009 , 1:04pm
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I think a really good decorator has an "eye" for design and color. I have several decorators working for me. One in particular has the "eye" and another is what I call a "mechanical" decorator. She knows the tips, the tools, the techniques, but she needs to have a guideline to design well.

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dhccster Posted 15 Mar 2009 , 1:19pm
post #9 of 18

This is a really great question. I would love to be able to take a class, but none are available here. I know I would learn so much more if I did have a class. I have ordered some DVD's and learned some from them. I know it takes practice, practice, practice. I need to do that more.

I am interested to hear other people's responses.

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sulia Posted 15 Mar 2009 , 7:20pm
post #10 of 18

hi hsterling

i'm not sure where in the netherlands you are located but there are a few classes in rotterdam. pm me if you want more info


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tammy712 Posted 15 Mar 2009 , 7:29pm
post #11 of 18

My interest in cake decorating started with my Mil giving me 53 Wilton cake pans when my DH and I got married. But my real interest didn't start until I found this site.

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kelleym Posted 15 Mar 2009 , 7:33pm
post #12 of 18

A few years ago (long before I ever dreamed of doing cakes) I took a Graphic Design course at our local Community College. I find myself referring back to the principles I learned in that class on practically every cake I make! Balance, design, color, aesthetics.

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bakery_chick Posted 15 Mar 2009 , 7:43pm
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I got engaged in 2003. I was a high school teacher at the time. I was having a hard time at school and looking for a creative outlet at the same time I was looking for a wedding cake. I was in Michael's one night and decided to take the cake decorating class. I came home from that first class (Jan 6, 2004) and told my husband that I wanted to make our wedding cake. I am sure he thought I was crazy, but outwardly he was very supportive. We were getting married in August, so I knew I had 8 months to practice. I took as many classes as I could find, and I practiced as much as possible. I was making cakes for EVERYONE. I went to culinary school. I became an intern for a top cake decorator in my area and worked for free for 7 months. After school, I got a paying job with a higher end bakery where I learned a lot too. I watch every cake show I can find. I just opened my shop in August 2007, and we are still in the poor as hell and working 80 hours/week stage, but I hope to soon take some more advance classes. I can say that I have never felt as naturally successful as I have with cake decorating. Some things I get easily, others I still feel I need more practice with, but all in all there is something about cake decorating at is basic level that makes sense in my brain. I believe that that is the "artistic" side of it. I still struggle with calling myself an artist because for my entire life I never showed any artistic talent AT ALL. It just manifests itself in buttercream.

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shelly-101 Posted 15 Mar 2009 , 7:52pm
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I have always been a very crafty person i love art and any thing to do with art. i could have graduated my juinor year of high school but i decided to stay my last year all i had was five differant art classes. i really think that cakes have alot to do with art i really think you have to be a creative person to be able to do cakes ya you have to practice too but creativety has alot to do with it i have never taken any cake classes i just decided to make my dad a fathers day cake one year i bought a debbie brown book and went form there and i have been hooked ever since and i get better every time i make a cake i don't sell my cakes yet only do them for friends and family but really hope to one day.

shelly icon_biggrin.gif

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Ariginal Posted 15 Mar 2009 , 8:13pm
post #15 of 18

For me personally i did my very first cake for my now 15 year old daughters 1st bday.. i bought a slab of sponge from the supermarket and cut out a shape (a snowman as december baby although no snow here then) and used buttercream to decorate and black liquorice to do outlines as didnt know bout piping bags or fondant etc.. then about 9 years ago i joined the local cake club which by the way was just starting and there i learnt about fondant, flowers etc.. i learnt roses, carnations and orchids there but everything else is self taught. Ie my 3D sculptered cakes and so on. I fell in love with cake decorating and sugar art... i have done many crafts over the years, dried flowers, cross stitching, art at school and now i can incorporate all those in my cakes.

I dont do alot of practice each cake seems to be it and yes they get better and better with each and everyone.. the only thing i do practice is trying new cake flavours hehe.

I am a arty farty person and need that creative outlet and cakes does it for me along with my photography which i do practise and writing poetry..

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Marianna46 Posted 15 Mar 2009 , 8:49pm
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My mother always decorated us a cake for our birthdays, so cake decorating has always given me a warm fuzzy feeling. I think I started trying my own luck when I was about 9. Since I've had children, I've been the resident baker and decorator for the family. I'd never been very spectacular at the execution, but I think I've had some good ideas over the years. A few months ago, I decided to start taking it seriously. The first thing that motivated me was the thought of making my granddaughter a really supercool birthday cake (it's not till August, so I have some time to plan this out). I googled "cake decorating". The first thing I came across was Cake Central, which I joined at the end of December. I´m close to retirement and I´m thinking seriously of doing this professionally after I retire. I've watched tons of videos to learn techniques and have ordered a couple of on-line courses. On Tuesday, I´m starting a fondant class near my home. For the next year and a half, I'm going to be making lots of cakes and giving them to my friends and family. This is my apprenticeship. I'm finding that what I really like is fondant and gumpaste work, especially flower- and figure-making, so I'm tempted to sort of specialize in that. I love this and every day I love it a little more. I get what sweet1122 says about the preparation, the mixing, the baking and cleaning up the mess being a drag, but I don't care. It's worth it to be able to decorate. Like bakery_chick says,[


I have never felt as naturally successful as I have with cake decorating


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sugarcheryl Posted 15 Mar 2009 , 9:01pm
post #17 of 18

That's great Marianna46. I myself didn't start taking this seriously until about 5 years ago. I was tired of working for someone else. Yeah I agree the cleaning up and the icing every where but I get such satisfaction and joy after doing it even my cakes may not look the greatest to me. But my client is satisfied that's what really matter. icon_smile.gif

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Redlotusninjagrl Posted 15 Mar 2009 , 9:06pm
post #18 of 18

I have always been crafty. I started scrapbooking ten years ago and then I got into rubber stamping and card marking like four years ago. I got into other paper crafts about a year ago. I am crafty, but not artistic. I don't have an eye for color or design. I see elements that I like and use those as inspiration. For those crafts, I participate in weekly challenges so that I have the opportunity to practice. And the more I practice the better I get.

Cake decorating is something I was interested in, but didn't know how to start. I had one friend who was already decorating cakes. She was self taught and not really good, to be honest. And I recently reconnected with a friend on Facebook who is totally into cake decorating. She is good. I have seen her cakes and you can tell she has a passion. She encouraged me to take the Wilton classes and to visit this website. So I have been taking the classes and reading everything I can. When I find something I like, I am very passionate about it. And I love decorating. I am not that good yet, but with practice, I can be. I was glad to see that there is a Cupcake Challenge every few weeks. I am a struggling box baker so I am hoping that trying new recipes will help me develop some baking skills.

Not everyone can decorate well and not everyone can bake well. All that being said, some people are naturally gifted. And then some people practice and practice and can be just as good. I need a lot of practice! icon_biggrin.gif

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