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Julia M. Usher’s Cookie Art Competition™ 2nd Virtual Edition - 2022 Competition Overview

 

Julia M. Usher’s Cookie Art Competition™ 2nd Virtual Edition
2022 Competition Overview
(Submission Deadline Extended to October 15, 5 pm CDT)

(Tip: The Google Translate button in the footer of this site can be used to translate this entire post.)

Woo hoo! Registration for the second virtual edition of Julia M. Usher’s Cookie Art Competition™ is now open, and almost anyone anywhere can enter! But . . . before you hop on over to the competition's registration page on Eventbrite, please read ALL of the information below. It will assist you in the registration process and also when you ultimately upload your entries. My judging team and I are looking forward to a banner year. Total prize value is even higher than what I mentioned in my last update! Yes, it's already over $19,000 USD ($8,500 in cash), and I expect that number to grow further over the next few months. (Thank you to our wonderful sponsors who will be unveiled in due time!) And, of course, the judges and I know you all will exceed our wildest expectations because you always do, year in and year out!

Much of the information in this post is identical to what was published in my earlier Competition Preview, however do pay close attention to the skill level classifications - they are brand new this year! Like last year, 2022 entries will be submitted online in photo- and video-format, following the specific submission requirements for each cookie category in the links at the end of this post.

If you have any questions about this material, please place them in the comments below so that everyone can benefit from the Q&A. Or, if your question pertains to your particular circumstance, please email me at sweetlife@juliausher.com. Please note, however, that, out of fairness to all entrants, I will not provide guidance or tips related to theme interpretation or designing and executing your entry. To stay up-to-the-moment current on competition happenings, don't forget to follow the competition section in this blog.

If you're interested in sponsoring the competition, I'm still accepting donations, and would love your support. You can find sponsorship details in the 2022 Sponsorship Offering, and you can email me at any time, of course.

2022 COOKIE COMPETITION TIMETABLE
AUGUST 15 UPDATE: SUBMISSION DEADLINE EXTENDED TO OCTOBER 15!
(Due to some unforeseen - but not serious - personal issues that will prevent me from overseeing the judging process at the original time, I have extended the due date by one month.)

  • May 30 (or sooner): Sponsor commitments and artwork are due, though late donations will be accepted.
  • June 15 (5 pm CDT): Competitor registration opens on Eventbrite (REGISTER ON EVENTBRITE; there is non-refundable $15 USD entry fee per entry to cover competition admin costs).
  • June 15 (or sooner) - September 15 October 15: Competitors prepare entries.
  • September 15 October 15 (5 pm CDT): Registration closes and all entry forms and submission materials must be uploaded to Cookie Connection. (Links to online entry forms will automatically be emailed to registrants, via Eventbrite, as soon as Eventbrite has processed your registration form/payment. Again, contents of entry forms and all required submission materials can be found in the links at the end of this post.)
  • October 15: Judging begins.
  • October 15 November 18 (subject to change, depending on number of entries): Finalists announced!
  • October 30 November 30 (subject to change, depending on number of entries): Winners announced!
  • November 30 (5 pm CST): Deadline to request feedback. Feedback will only be delivered if requested via email by this time. Please email requests to me (sweetlife@juliausher.com); do not leave requests on social media where I may not see them. Feedback will be processed in the order requests are received, so please allow at least two weeks from this date to receive your feedback. Depending on the quantity of requests received, delivery time may be faster or slower.

What is 5 pm CDT/CST in your part of the world? Use this time zone converter.

CLASSIFICATIONS

  • Open to teens and adults, anyone 13 years of age or older anywhere in the world.
  • NEW THIS YEAR: Two skills-based classifications in each category, as defined here:
    • Beginner/Intermediate: Sugar artists with less than five (5) years of cookie decorating experience who are developing their skills. Also includes anyone who does not fit the “Advanced/Master” description below. Can include either hobbyists or those who work professionally in cookie decorating, as long as the individual is not a cookie decorating instructor.
    • Advanced/Master: Sugar artists with five (5) or more years of cookie decorating experience and/or those recognized as having advanced cookie decorating skills or mastery of cookie decorating techniques. Also includes all cookie decorating instructors and anyone who has won any prize in any cookie competition in the past. Can include either hobbyists or those who work professionally in cookie decorating.
  • Please note that if you enter multiple cookie categories (i.e., both 2-D Cookie and 3-D Cookie, as defined below), you must use the same skill level classification for all entries. The skill level classifications above describe your overall cookie decorating skill and experience and are not particular to different types of cookies.

CATEGORIES

  • 2-D Cookie: A single large flat decorated cookie OR a collection of flat decorated cookies (no maximum cookie count) arranged laying down, artistically, and also minimally overlapping, so that the decorative details on each cookie can be seen in your submitted photographs. (By “flat”, we mean the cookies themselves must be flat; they can be decorated with icing and other media to create added dimension.) The entire entry must be no smaller than 1 x 1 foot (30 x 30 cm) and no bigger than 3 x 3 feet (91 x 91 cm). These measurements relate to the cookie or cookie composition and exclude any inedible baseboard.
  • 3-D Cookie: A multi-cookie construction, where decorated cookies are arranged in any orientation and pieced together to create a freestanding, dimensional piece of cookie art. A minimum of 12 decorated cookies must comprise this construction; there is no maximum cookie count. The cookies in the entry needn’t be flat; they can also be contoured, embossed, molded, modeled, sculpted, or otherwise shaped. The entire entry must fit into a 2 x 2 x 3-foot-tall (61 x 61 x 91-cm-tall, L x W x H) area. The entry may be smaller than this area, but it cannot be larger. Again, these dimensions relate to the cookie structure and exclude any inedible baseboard. Important: A 3-D cookie is not a flat cookie onto which royal icing has been pressure-piped or added as a transfer to create dimension. Likewise, a 3-D cookie is not a flat cookie onto which molded or modeled fondant (or some other decorating medium) has been added for dimension. Cookies of these descriptions should be placed in the 2-D Cookie category.

THEME

Broadway & Musicals
(or off-Broadway live theater productions for our non-US-based participants)
The theme is the same for all categories and skill level classifications.

PRIZES

As always, ample cash prizes and gift certificates will be awarded to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in each of the four categories/classifications: 2-D Cookie - Beginner/Intermediate; 2-D Cookie - Advanced/Master; 3-D Cookie - Beginner/Intermediate; and 3-D Cookie - Advanced/Master. As noted above, the total prize value is currently over $19,000 USD, and expected to grow.

JUDGING SYSTEM

  • Scored on a 70-point system for 2-D Cookie; 90-point system for 3-D Cookie; see “Judging Criteria” below for details.
  • 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners will be chosen for each skill level classification within each category. So twelve (12) prizes in total will be awarded. The Kerry Vincent Best in Show Award will also be given to the one entry (across all categories and skill levels) that most impressed the judges because of its technical superiority, powerful messaging, and/or innovation.
  • Score sheets with judges' feedback will be delivered digitally after winners are announced, but only if requested prior to November 1 (date subject to change).

JUDGING CRITERIA

For 2-D Cookie Category:

(10 points awarded across each of 7 criteria for a total of 70 points)
  1. Interpretation of theme: Broadway & Musicals (Think out of the box; judges often prefer theme interpretations that are personal or unpredictable, or that tell a story through the relationship of cookies in the piece.)
  2. Number and difficulty of decorating techniques used (Decorating techniques include, but are not limited to, outlining/flooding, dipping, dimensional pressure piping, wet-on-wet/marbling, stenciling, airbrushing, painting, stamping, fondant work, edible paper work, isomalt, etc.)
  3. Mastery of techniques used
  4. Cleanliness of icing/covering and cookies
  5. Originality of cookie designs (Copies of copyrighted material of any kind – characters, logos, others’ original art, etc. – are not allowed. Yes, this means you can't copy show logos or characters. You'll need to get creative in how you express what "Broadway & Musicals" means to you.)
  6. Setup/display (Edible plates, platters, or other display pieces will be awarded more points.)
  7. Overall appeal

For 3-D Cookie Category:

(10 points awarded across each of 9 criteria for a total of 90 points)
  1. Interpretation of theme: Broadway & Musicals (Think out of the box; judges often prefer theme interpretations that are personal or unpredictable, or that tell a story through the relationship of cookies in the piece.)
  2. Number and difficulty of decorating techniques used (Decorating techniques include, but are not limited to, outlining/flooding, dipping, dimensional pressure piping, wet-on-wet/marbling, stenciling, airbrushing, painting, stamping, fondant work, edible paper work, isomalt, etc.)
  3. Number and difficulty of construction techniques used (Construction techniques include, but are not limited to, contouring dough, embossing or molding dough, stacked or sandwiched 3-D constructions, 3-D mitered corner constructions, cookies on sticks, etc.)
  4. Mastery of decorating and construction techniques used
  5. Cleanliness of individual cookie elements and 3-D construction
  6. Scale, balance, and viewability of 3-D construction (from all angles)
  7. Originality of design (Copies of copyrighted material of any kind – characters, logos, others’ original art, etc. – are not allowed. Yes, this means you can't copy show logos or characters. You'll need to get creative in how you express what "Broadway & Musicals" means to you.)
  8. Setup/display (Edible plates, platters, or other display pieces will be awarded more points.)
  9. Overall appeal

RULES

General Rules for All Cookie Categories/Classifications:

  • A completed registration form and paid entry fee (non-refundable $15 USD per entry) are required before you can receive a link to the online entry form(s). Again, REGISTER HERE ON EVENTBRITE. There will be a different entry form for each classification/category, so be sure to select the one that pertains to you. Competition admin will not reclassify entries that have already been submitted.
  • There is no limit on the number of entries per person. However, a separate $15 USD entry fee is required per entry.
  • Entrants must submit a complete entry form that contains the entrant's name, email address, phone number, theme interpretation, description of techniques and media used, a video, a hero photo, several supporting photos, and a few other items. Please review the "Category-Specific Submission Requirements" in the section below, and have the items listed there prepared before you sit down to submit your entry.
  • Again, links to entry forms will automatically be emailed to you, via Eventbrite, as soon as Eventbrite has processed your registration form/payment. The links will direct you to a secure area on Cookie Connection (this site) where you will be prompted to upload the items listed in the "Category-Specific Submission Requirements".
  • Very important: The name, email address, and phone number that you use to register on Eventbrite must match those on your entry form on Cookie Connection. Otherwise, we will not be able to verify that you paid an entry fee, and your entry will be eliminated.
  • Absolutely no markings (names, logos, etc.) that identify you or your business should be on or in any of the videos, photos, or text descriptions that you submit on your entry form. Likewise, you must maintain the anonymity of your entry until judging is complete (meaning you cannot display your entry on social media or show your entry to judges in advance). All judging is done blind, without knowing the entrant, to ensure the most objective evaluations. (Names, email addresses, and phone numbers submitted on entry forms will be masked before judging occurs.)
  • Entries must be arranged and photographed/videotaped on a solid single-color backdrop with no additional photo styling or staging. The cookies should speak for themselves!
  • Videos should not be professionally produced; a simple video taken on your mobile phone will suffice. The primary goal of the video is to ensure that judges can see your entry from all angles.
  • Videos and photos cannot be digitally altered in any way. The use of filters, color enhancements, removal of flaws, and any adjustments that change how the entry views in real life to the human eye are strictly prohibited. Exception: Exposure adjustments can be made to correct for poor ambient lighting.
  • The entry must be made, in its entirety, by the entrant. Faux or store-bought cookies or icing cannot be used. No one else can assist with the entry. Collaborations are prohibited.
  • The entry cannot have been previously entered in another competition, show, or exhibition. The work must be fresh and tailored to this competition’s theme.
  • The entry cannot contain copies or close facsimiles of others’ copyrighted designs, art, logos, or other material. Remember: Originality is rewarded in this competition!
  • The entry cannot contain inedible materials, including those labeled “nontoxic” or “for display use only”. Any items that could be construed by judges as inedible (including, but not limited to, pencil, luster dusts, and glitters) should either not be used or be clearly identified by brand name on your entry form in the area where techniques are described so that judges can verify their edibility. Remember, "nontoxic" does not equate to "edible". Exception for 3-D Cookie Category: Internal supports are discouraged, but allowed if they are clearly visible to judges in your hero photo (without looking at any work-in-process photos) and could easily be removed from the cookie(s) if they were to be eaten (i.e., such as sticks in cookie pops).
  • You must conduct yourself in an ethical and professional manner, and treat others in our global community just as you want to be treated yourself. This competition celebrates diversity and inclusivity, and we expect our entrants to do the same. Good sportsmanship also matters!
  • By submitting an entry, you are giving us permission to share any photos or videos you included in your entry form, but only after the competition winners are announced, and only with proper attribution of your material. Use of photos/videos will be limited to publicizing finalists, winners, and future competitions.
  • By submitting an entry, you certify that you have read and abided by all of the above rules as well as the specific submission requirements for your category (or categories), below. Judges reserve the right to deduct points or to disqualify any entry they feel violates rules or doesn’t meet requirements, or any entrant who behaves in a manner inconsistent with the values of this competition.
  • Judges’ decisions are final.

Additional 2-D Cookie Rules:

Theme: Broadway & Musicals

  • All general rules, as described above, must be met.
  • Again, the entry must conform to the minimum cookie number (1) and overall entry size requirements for the 2-D Cookie category, as described under “Categories” above.

Additional 3-D Cookie Rules:

Theme: Broadway & Musicals

  • All general rules, as described above, must be met.
  • Again, the entry must conform to the minimum cookie number (12) and overall entry size requirements for the 3-D Cookie category, as described under “Categories” above.
  • All cookies included in the construction must be clearly identified on the entrant’s entry form and shown in one of the required work-in-process photos.
  • Again, internal supports are discouraged, but allowed if they are clearly visible to judges (without looking at any work-in-process photos) and can easily be removed from the cookie(s) if they were to be eaten (i.e., such as cookie pops).

SPECIFIC SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS FOR EACH CATEGORY

Please review the following "Category-Specific Submission Requirements", and have the items listed in them (primarily photos and one video) prepared before you sit down to submit your entry. The required materials vary by category in some key ways, so read them carefully.

LAST, BUT NOT LEAST!

REGISTER NOW!
Relax and have fun with this competition! While we award prizes, every entrant comes out a winner for having made an investment in him/herself! Just by participating, you are assured of achieving your own personal best!

Any questions?

Again, please leave them in the comments below or contact me at sweetlife@juliausher.com.

Want to sponsor? I'd love that!
Please download the 2022 Sponsorship Offering and/or email me.

Attachments

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  • 2022 Competition Overview Banner: Graphic Design by Liz Cox
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Copyright 2022, Julia M. Usher, LLC
Copyright 2022, Julia M. Usher, LLC

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Comments (4)

Newest · Oldest · Popular

Questions!

・Am I allowed to  use an actual musical name(i.e. the lion king) in my project title?

・Can I replicate stage set from an actual musical or movie ? (i.e. the Lion king or la la land)

・Can I get inspiration from the costumes of an actual musical or movie?

Thank you in advance.

@Haru posted:

Questions!

・Am I allowed to  use an actual musical name(i.e. the lion king) in my project title?

・Can I replicate stage set from an actual musical or movie ? (i.e. the Lion king or la la land)

・Can I get inspiration from the costumes of an actual musical or movie?

Thank you in advance.

Hi, Haruka! Excellent questions, and thanks for posting them here so that everyone can benefit from our Q&A. I will attempt to answer all three questions at once as they all relate to our overarching rule that states that you cannot copy copyrighted material.

That being said, you could use the name of a musical or other production as the title for your entry, but you cannot reproduce the logo or name in any copyrighted typography IN your actual entry photos and video.

You most certainly can draw inspiration from the costumes or set of an actual musical or theatrical/musical movie, which means you need to put your own personal spin on the images you recreate in cookie form. You cannot replicate or copy any characters or imagery that is likely to be copyrighted, which most movie characters, logos, etc. are.

Judges and I cannot assist entrants with determining whether specific images or scenes are copyrighted; entrants have to do their own research to determine this. When in doubt or if the answer is difficult to obtain, I recommend steering clear of replicating an actual production or actual imagery from the production. Points will be deducted if judges determine that a copyrighted image, logo, or other matter has been copied.

** Imaginary productions are encouraged (and may be preferred by some judges too!) **

I hope I've answered your questions. Best of luck and thanks again for the questions!

Last edited by Julia M. Usher

Another question!

JUDGING CRITERIA, For 2-D Cookie Category: 6. Setup/display (Edible plates, platters, or other display pieces will be awarded more points.)

Could you kindly elaborate on this item, please? I assume this means we can use material other than cookies. Do they need to be all edible? What are allowed and what are not?

Thank you very much in advance.

@Haru posted:

Another question!

JUDGING CRITERIA, For 2-D Cookie Category: 6. Setup/display (Edible plates, platters, or other display pieces will be awarded more points.)

Could you kindly elaborate on this item, please? I assume this means we can use material other than cookies. Do they need to be all edible? What are allowed and what are not?

Thank you very much in advance.

Thanks for another great question. This category pertains to the overall setup and appearance/display and relates more generally to the whole piece, not just to what the piece sits on. So entrants should consider how their piece and message, holistically, will best be conveyed. As for the bit about what the entry sits on, that's up to the entrant's judgment. Perhaps the entry would look best on no platter or plate (we had winners last year who just displayed their cookies on a white surface, so the cookies on top made a clearer statement), or perhaps the display surface would be best integrated with the rest of the piece? For instance, last year's 3-D winner Beatriz Muller made a tiled cookie surface to resemble a countertop and then placed a cookie mixer and baking scene on top of it. If an entrant chooses to use a display surface, again, it will tend to be scored more highly if it's edible and also a cookie, as this is a cookie competition after all!

Last edited by Julia M. Usher
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