I was able to meet Katy Metoyer of Sugar Dayne at CookieCon 2014 and have been following her ever since. Over the last few months, I have noticed a shift in her decorating . . . her style has become more expressive and free, filled with bright colors and lots of layers.
I am always in awe of people who seem to throw caution to the wind in their cookie work, with the end results coming together so beautifully. Katy, to me, is someone who achieves this, so I was happy to be able to interview her this month. I hope you will enjoy my latest Q & A with Katy of Sugar Dayne!
Melissa Joy: Katy, thanks so much for agreeing to an interview! I’m so happy to finally be able to ask you about your cookie work. You have been on my radar since this great piece you created and posted here on Cookie Connection, called "Stacked Coral Reef Valentine". Those wonderful embellishments caught all of our attention! Can you tell us the inspiration behind this creation?
Katy Metoyer: Thanks so much for having me. I must admit, it’s pretty exciting to "be on someone’s radar". I am in awe of the work I see on Cookie Connection. I love to see all of the new creations and to be inspired every day by all of you.
I really loved doing that coral reef stack, but I hadn’t really planned for it. It was part of a set for a cookie competition I was in, and I wanted it to stand out in height, dimension, and color, as well as represent the beach (where I’ve lived my whole life). I didn’t win, but I really did like how it turned out.
Being new(ish) to cookies, I am inspired every day by my cookie friends. I started cookies about two years ago after stumbling upon Sugarbelle's website. After I read every blog post and watched every how-to video, twice, I began trying to decorate myself.
Recently, I’ve started playing with fondant, stamping, edible confetti, markers, metallic paint, and any other fun medium I can add. I’ve noticed that in doing this, my work has been rapidly changing . . .
I have really poured myself into my cookies after the sudden passing of my Dad a few months ago. He was always my biggest cookie supporter and fan and, funny as this seems, I feel like he is with me on certain projects, especially the coral reef stack. So, in continuing to celebrate Dad’s life and all of my family memories, I find he’s a big inspiration for me. I miss him tremendously, but I know sometimes he’s with me in the kitchen.
MJ: I am so sorry to hear about your Dad. He is certainly still inspiring you to make great things! Regarding the coral reef cookie, I would love to know what those sweet little flowers and shells are made of and how you went about making them. Are the feathers made out of the same material?
KM: So, being a beginner (and the second time I’ve ever tried fondant), I just created these shells and flowers out of white fondant. I let them dry overnight and I applied different colors of luster dust from Cake and Craft with a small brush. The orange pieces are orange fondant (from mini bricks of Satin Ice), and I thought they gave the stack a little pop of color.
After all of the embellishments were added, I finished with the small electric green anemones. I used a PME rope tip for those. The blue standing pieces are edible confetti feathers from Tammy Holmes. I have a huge hoard of her edible confetti and use it any time I can. I love drawing details onto the feathers with edible pens.
MJ: A few weeks later, you created horseshoe cookies like none I had ever seen, and I just adore them! How do you get the color gradation on the molded shell and flower pieces? Is it applied after they are made, or is the shading done during the process?
KM: As for these horseshoes, I was really going with the same theme as the reef stack. So everyone now knows that I don’t plan; I just go for it. I know that all shells that come from the ocean are unique, so I can be as carefree as I want. Pressure off! They start out white and then I just brush on a little luster dust, mostly going with earth tones. The bright roses are white fondant mixed with electric pink coloring, and the orange elements are molded from the mini blocks of pre-colored Satin Ice fondant.
MJ: More recently, there has been this great freedom in your decorating using a painting-like technique . . . almost like purposeful doodling! These "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" cookies are the perfect example and so charming. I’d love to know if they were done with edible markers or painted with color, and if there is wet-on-wet icing anywhere?
KM: Purposeful doodling. I love that.
I have no art background and really don’t know where this is all coming from. These donkeys were pretty intimidating, but when all was said and done, they turned out to make a happy color party! This was my first time ever working with a chocolate base. I flooded the cookie in white and then did a little wet-on-wet for the ears and nose using Rainbow Dust ProGel Aqua. I also used Rainbow Dust metallic pens, as well as Sugarflair pens. These are my favorite cookies I’ve ever created.
MJ: The results are so expressive and colorful! We see a similar effect in the Easter egg cookies pictured earlier, as well as in the Gatsby-inspired set below. Do you plan any of these kinds of designs, or do you just go with what you feel at the moment? If I were to wing it, I’m not sure I’d know when to stop!
KM: It’s so funny you ask about planning sets. I live a super busy life with my two sons and helping my husband with his business. Cookies for me are really a time to relax. I almost never plan them and if I do, I end up worrying about them. So, I just turn on my oven, take a deep breath, and go.
MJ: Man, with results such as yours, I better stop thinking so much!
Finally, I have to ask what I ask every one of my interviewees . . . what is your can’t-live-without baking or decorating tool?
KM: Well, my can’t-live-without baking tool would be my yellow boo boo stick, but these days, I’m not able to live without my edible pens either! My favorites are the Sugarflair pens and the metallic Rainbow Dust pens, both from the UK. One last can’t-live-without are my cookie besties who continue to push me and inspire me.
MJ: That is sweet, and I agree - cookie besties are GREAT!
Katy, thank you so much for answering my questions. I think you’re fabulous and can’t wait to see what cookie work you will dream up next!
KM: Thanks. This was awesome and I’m so honored. Back to the kitchen I go . . .
Photo credits: Katy Metoyer
A Note from Melissa Joy: Hey, all! I just wanted to let you know that I will be taking a little hiatus from my How DID You Do That? blog here on Cookie Connection. This summer is sure to be busy with my kiddos on break and trying to jumpstart my business locally. I hope to be back in the fall, so keep creating and inspiring us . . . I want to have a lot of gorgeous work from which to pick when I return! Have a great summer! ~ Melissa [EDITOR'S NOTE: You too, Melissa! We hope to have you back soon!]
Melissa Joy Lacasse has always had a passion for baking just about anything, but something clicked once she received a cookie decorating kit years ago. This pastime that started as holiday cookies for family and friends eventually turned into Melissa Joy Fanciful Cookies, a Facebook page, and most recently, the blog melissajoycookies.com. While Melissa enjoys the creative outlet that cookie decorating brings, she finds that sharing with others, whether via bakery box or virtually, is always the most rewarding part of her cookie journey.
Photo credit: Melissa Lacasse
Note: How DID You Do That? is a regular Cookie Connection blog feature, written by Melissa Lacasse, which reveals through in-depth interviews the inside scoop behind cookiers' unique designs and technique innovations. Its content expresses the views of the author and interviewee, and not necessarily those of this site, its owners, its administrators, or its employees. To catch up on all of Melissa's past posts, click here.