10-Question-Interview with Claire Anderson
"Feel the fear - but do it anyway" says Claire Anderson who won gold medal and 1st place in Class L: A Wedding Cake of 3 or More Tiers at Cake International London 2016.
She gladly agreed to share her experience as a cake contestant with you and talk about her entry.
Thank you Claire!
How long have you been decorating?
I have been decorating cakes for 7 years now – those years have flown by!
What is your speciality, what exactly are you best at or love doing when it comes to decorating, why?
I think if you have a passion for something it naturally becomes your speciality. I have been painting since I was 3 – so hand painting comes naturally to me. I started airbrushing 4 years ago – now it is something I do nearly every day – I airbrush more than I write! I also love teaching cake decorating – it is so rewarding to see students create cakes that they never dreamed they could do. So I would definitely say these are my 3 passions.
What is your favourite technique, medium, why?
Airbrushing definitely – the depth of colours and effects that you can get with airbrushing you just can’t create in any other way. It can really bring cakes to life quite literally whether you are doing a novelty cake or a wedding cake or even flowers it is such a versatile medium.
What is the activity that you hate doing as a decorator?
Levelling, filling & covering cakes – I find it so boring. I can’t wait to get to the stage where the cake is all covered and is my blank canvas. That is when I sigh with relief & the passion kicks in.
Why did you start competing?
I have always loved a challenge. But for me it is about getting all this “cake madness” out of my head. I was so sick of doing boring white wedding cakes I wanted to show people that they could be a lot more exciting & clients usually only order boring cakes. So competing is a way of showcasing my work & saying “Look look! Your cake doesn’t have to be white – trust me!” I don’t want a cake to blend in I want it to stand out.
Why did you pick this particular design for your competition entry?
I have always had a bit of thing for mermaids & I have made a few mermaid cakes & cookies previously – so it was a natural progression to take it even further. I was inspired by the vibrant colours that you find in coral reefs – the stunning fish, coral & even sea urchins there is so much colour & I am all about colour!
What was the hardest part in creating it?
Definitely covering the bottom tier – without a doubt! It’s a big one & nearly 10 inches (25cms) in height plus with a straight edge. It was quite a workout so was very pleased I did it right the first time!
What was the funniest story that has to do with this competition?
I can laugh about it now (only JUST) I had finished the cake completely and was boxing it up the night before. I suddenly realised that my cake would not fit in the box I had bought for a 16 inch base. It was only then that I realised that the base was 18 inches so had to call a friend who was luckily in her shop and had a box to fit. Not the kind of heart attack I need a few hours before leaving for a competition. I will never do that again!
What was your favourite entry other than yours?
It is very hard to choose as there were so many amazing creations but if I had to my personal favourite was in the Decorative Exhibit Category & the marvellous work of Rhianydd Webb from Dragons & Daffodils Cakes.
What is your advice to aspiring cake contestants?
Follow your OWN design & don’t be lead by others or doing what you think the judges want to see. Do your piece for you, something that you really want to do and will enjoy doing. Take your time & try not to rush & lastly – feel the fear but do it anyway!