I completed the fondant module under the tutelage of Sheila Brooks looking forward to the Joshua/James class.
It was with the introduction of fondant that my cakes really changed. I continued posting my cakes on Facebook which proved to be a good marketing move for it lead to one of my first real custom cake orders! One cake sale lead to another. It wasn't rapid growth and it wasn't a career by any stretch of the imagination but I was growing, learning and building a reputation to my friends on social media. There was much frustration and fear in those early days. Cake is slow, particularly when first starting and it took me a good long while to realize just how slow. Yeah, pretty sure I'm still learning that lesson;) The slowness of each project, the constant mess, the sink loads of dishes and just figuring out how to do cake was frustrating and discouraging. I was so afraid of messing up a cake and I didn't know all the tricks of the trade to remedy any issues. But I was determined and stretched myself with each order by trying new things which heightened my stress at times but accelerated my learning. Pressure can be beneficial for it forces results and good ones when the goal is exceptionalism
The time finally came for the Joshua/James class. I had done more fondant cakes and had a few more orders under my belt by that time which helped me not feel too green in class. Both the guys were so approachable, kind and patient. And yeah, like the groupie I am I got my picture with the pair of them!
When I am interested in any given field whether music, figure skating or cake, I like a sponge soak up all I can, I was that little girl that looked at the same pictures, listened to the same songs, looked at the same books over and over again, whatever source that opened a window to whatever world that currently piqued my interest I was all about it and would saturate my brain with it. It was either through YouTube watching or through the grapevine that I heard about The Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show lead by legend, Kerry Vincent. The whole idea of competing seemed so lofty and grand to me and really felt quite out of my league.
At the James and Joshua class the competition came up in conversation for a student there was planning on competing. I remember thinking wow, she must be really good! Competing with cake!?
I came home from the class with my newly learned skills and when an opportunity arose for me to do a display cake for a silent auction in which I could advertise my fledgling business I pounced on it. It was the most elaborate cake I had done at that time. I poured hours and hours into it and finally, upon completion sent a picture to Joshua John Russell and Sheila Brooks. They're feedback was encouraging and they both told me the same, that I should consider competing. Hmmmm.....
The chapter of my time at the Scottsville camp was coming to a close. I loved my work there but I was tired and ready to pursue my own business and it was time to get started. I completed my last day with all the hard work, wonderful memories and valuable lessons to be taken along and off I embarked into the world of entrepreneurship.
I've never really considered myself a brave person, self doubt usually finds its way into situations and choices but there was a certain drive and courage when it came to cake pursuits, a boldness and tenacity that made me want to dive ahead, a permission to pursue, doors felt open.
I continued making cakes, trying new things, posting them on social media and occasionally sending my work to Sheila Brooks. Her honest assessment of my work was instrumental to my pushing myself just a little bit harder on the next project. The constructive criticism taught me what made a good cake a good cake, what was acceptable in the cake world, the high standards of professional cake making, important lessons if exceptionalism is desired.
I decided I wanted to try my hand at competing and attend the Oklahoma Sugar Art Show. I poured weeks of work into my entry and made sure I had varied techniques, beneficial in competition.
It was quite the endeavor as my mom, sister and I packed up the car and drove toward Oklahoma. What an opportunity!
I set up my entry and the rest was in the hands of the judges. Just ambulating at the show was fascinating, incredible cakes were everywhere and a Food Network competitor, judge or famous instructor was almost always in view. Happiness!
I placed 2nd in my division, sure I was disappointed it wasn't first but again, I was learning and very much a rookie. After the competition I again found myself in a class taught by James Rosselle. His humble spirit makes him an approachable instructor, always willing to answer questions both in class and out of it. There's great power in finding those who's work and career drive and inspire.
Time and again doors opened, people were placed at just the right moment, to teach, to inspire, each player playing a note in the composition.