Sunday, January 23, 2011

Figure modelling course with Lorraine McKay

After a relatively quiet beginning to the year things have suddenly got insanely busy again.  Once again I am burning the midnight oil trying to keep up with my cake orders while dutifully going to work every day.  I  also spent two wonderful days in Maastricht, Holland last week-end, attending 2 days of courses with Lorraine McKay.  This doubtlessly has contributed massively to the need for late nights this week.

During the weekend I learned how to fashion this bride out of sugar paste, complete with dress details and jewelry, and also a cute mermaid in a bathtub.  On Saturday there were about 16 of us there, of which 10 were bona fide professionals.  Two participants were authors of cake decorating books!  So, yes, I definitely felt out of my league at first.  Yet everyone was super friendly and the atmosphere was relaxed and positive.  Lorraine herself was terrifc, who constantly cracked jokes and bantered with all of us.  For me the pace was punishing on Saturday.  It seemed I was always 2 steps behind everyone else  which meant that I was constantly having to ask Lorraine to show me again, as I had had time to forget in the meantime.  But at the end of the day, when I was checking out everyone else's projects, I realised that I was far from being the worst in the class!  The slowest, definitely, but not the worst.  That in itself was such a confidence booster!
On Sunday I schlepped all my stuff from the hotel to the course venue in order to make the train on time in the evening.  This time there were only 10 of us and the pace was noticeably more relaxed.  Fewer professionals and more hobby bakers so all in all an easier day.  In just one day I noticed a marked improvement in my face-making skills and in my ability to make hands (including the fingernails!).  In the end most of us relaxed too much and ended up not having time to fully complete our projects, me included.  Luckily we were allowed to keep our left over bits of fondant and sugar paste, so I was able to complete both projects at home.
All in all I learned more than I ever thought I would in one weekend.  Best of all the skills I have learned are easily applicable to other kinds of projects.  I now felt confident making a 3-D fairy for a birthday cake ordered for this weekend.  My fairy has bare feet, and I realised I could apply the techniques used for making hands to make realistic feet with toes and toenails.    See my next post for pictures of that cake and a dinosaur birthday cake I was also working on!

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