Summer may be coming to a close, but it continues to live on through the stunning array of floral masterpieces submitted for this challenge. From the traditional to the unexpected, our entries showed that cookiers know no bounds when it comes to creating their unique botanical designs. As you will soon see, these entries are as equally impressive as they are diverse.
But before we get to our spotlighted entries, I would like to remind you of the fabulous prize for this challenge. One lucky winner, who was chosen entirely at random from among all entrants, will receive a collection of Sugarin® products donated by Cookie Connection host @Julia M. Usher. This set of goodies includes three packages of Anna Austin's modeling paste, one bottle of bakers' spirit, one bottle of edible glaze, one bottle of edible glue, one Petal Palette by Patty with 12 stunning colors of compressed petal dust, six containers of edible petal dust, six oil powder colors, and five icing paste concentrates!
And the randomly drawn winner of Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #41 is . . . @Heather Bruce Sosa! CONGRATULATIONS, Heather! I am sure you will put all of those amazing products to good use!
Cata's Birthday by Heather Bruce Sosa
In this entry, Heather combines soft hues and gently shaped petals to beautifully capture the delicacy of her flowers. The contrasting blue background is the perfect complement to her flowers. And having a cookie that doubles as a cake topper is definitely a clever idea!
And now, here are our spotlighted artists for Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #41. In no particular order . . .
Herbarium by PUDING FARMPUDING FARM's entry is an excellent example of how an arrangement does not have to be three-dimensional or "traditional" in order to create an impact. The standout for this entry is Timea's creative use of media and techniques to replicate an incredibly realistic looking herbarium. Lucky for us, Timea has also included a detailed photo tutorial to help explain how she expertly crafted the intricate details of her flowers. I highly recommend viewing the tutorial to gain a better appreciation of her work. My fellow Cookie Connection contributors all agree that this is a fantastic entry. And bonus points go out for creating such convincingly real (and movable!) royal icing scissors!
Floral Arrangement on Cookie by Szalony Cukiernik
This entry is one of those where photos do not do the cookier's work justice. Szalony Cukiernik has a short video posted in the comments that offers us a full 360-degree view that is worth a look. It is here that you get a true sense of the strong artistic composition of this botanical work of art. There are many wonderful elements in this entry that caught my eye, such as the unconventional quilling of the poppy juxtaposed against the lifelike daisies and clover; the bold red color contrasted against soft pinks and greens; and the two- and three-dimensional elements that are arranged and combined to create a wonderful sense of depth and dimension. This entry is definitely worthy of being a cookie showpiece!
Forget Me Not by Kanch JThis cookie is one of two spackled icing (aka sculptural painting) entries by Kanch J. Both are equally beautiful, but it was this entry with its arrangement of flowers and infusion of bold color that really stood out. The large roses and wild sunflowers are balanced perfectly by the bellflowers and forget me nots in both color and size. I love how Kanchana tried something completely new for her entries, and experimented and learned from it all. "Sculptural painting" is a technique not typically used on cookies, but Kanchana's entry has shown us that it is beautifully suited for cookie decorating!
Patio Trasero de Galleta by Yazz RossThis miniature backyard garden scene was certainly an ambitious entry by Yazz Ross, who drew her inspiration from @Julia M. Usher's 3-D Garden Arbor Cookie. There are so many incredible details to marvel at. I love how Yazz's tiny flowers are so vibrant and colorful, and how they fill the planters, and adorn the walls and ground. One judge commented, "Her centerpiece potted plant with the tiny yellow flowers is my favorite part." Its deep blue "glazing" also serves to create an interesting focal point. The garden trellis, wrought iron window grill, and clay pavers provide wonderful Spanish influences that add charm and character. There are also some great photos in the comments that offer close-up views of the techniques and media that were used to bring this garden to life!
Lilies of Summer by Cookies FantastiqueThe first thing I noticed about this entry by Cookies Fantastique was how beautifully arranged the flowers were and how polished everything looked. Carol's calla lilies are exquisite, and her royal icing lilies and blossoms add a wonderfully delicate touch. Arranging the flowers on plaque cookies brings a sense of formality, and each of Carol's designs reminds me of a corsage or boutonniere worn at a formal event. These flowers look stunning against the dark blue background (which is a perfect color), but they are equally elegant against the white background. All around, this is a fantastic entry!
Flower Wreath Cookie by Zeena
The sheer number of flowers in Zeena's entry is quite impressive. Add to that the many different types of flowers - created using multiple colors, media, and techniques - and you have a noteworthy and stunning floral creation. Zeena did an amazing job of arranging the flowers on her wreath. Her mindful placement of color, scale, and flower type all played a role in creating balance and harmony. I also like how Zeena explored the use of wafer paper flowers for the first time. Her purple clematis, along with the rest of her flowers, are simply outstanding!
Always a Bridesmaid . . . by LisaF
This entry is one of three submitted by LisaF. A lot of detail and effort went into each of her entries, but the flowers in this entry stole the show. Lisa has created a beautiful bouquet filled with pink and green hydrangeas, ranunculus, and peonies that complement each other nicely, and are set off by a white calla lily. A top view of this bouquet is shown in the comments, and really shows just how much texture there is in these flowers. It also highlights the amount of effort that went into crafting the individual petals of each flower. In the comments, Lisa also explains how she cleverly crafted her bouquet, and it's worth a look to see the structure beneath the flowers.
Flowers Served by Petra FloreanOne of the reasons for these challenges is to encourage members to explore new techniques and media that they might not have otherwise. Petra Florean embraced this opportunity by learning from three different videos to create her own royal icing clematis, and wafer paper rose and peony. I really like how Petra's flowers have such a delicate look, and how the rich hue of the rose adds a wonderful pop of color. The blue stenciling with white background adds charm and nicely ties everything together.
Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Peppers by SheaThis entry by Shea is a perfect example of outside-the-box thinking. To quote my fellow judge, "Firstly, the concept of miniature veggies with their respective flowers is wonderful in its own right. The execution is also flawless. Shea's modeling chocolate potatoes look like the real thing." The tomatoes and peppers are also impressive in their own right. Looking at the close-up photos in the comments, one can see the fine details that were added to the flowers to give them such lifelike qualities. The presentation of fruits and veggies contrasts perfectly against the dark background of the cookies. All of the elements combined to truly make this a standout entry.
Flowers in White Hanging Vase by Ryoko ~Cookie Ave.No detail was overlooked with this entry by Ryoko ~Cookie Ave.. As one judge noted, "Thanks to her mini tutorials, you can tell that Ryoko used an impressive number of techniques to create her entry. Her flowers have a beautiful lightness and delicacy to them." It took Ryoko six hours to make one five-petal kikyo - to give you an idea of just how much work went into this entry. Ryoko's white cosmos is another flower that really impressed the judges. I would also add that the delicate white lace is an ideal backdrop to the richly colored flowers. Also, I could not help but notice Ryoko's comment confessing that making three different types of flowers was "way too much" for her, which was then followed by a description of how she so expertly handcrafted no less than five different types of flowers! It was wonderful to see Ryoko embrace the spirit of the challenge by stepping out of her comfort zone and stretching herself to achieve beyond what she first thought possible.
And that concludes another Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge. It was wonderful to see so many unique and creative floral arrangements. It was also fantastic to see so many entrants offer step-by-step instructions along with insight as to what they learned along the way. Make sure you check out the whole clip set to see all of the amazing botanical arrangements. Thank you to everyone who participated, liked, and commented on the entries. Make sure to look for our next challenge, which will post on or about September 13, 2020.
Christine Dutcher's journey as a cookier began in early 2013 when an online search led her to the amazing world of cookie decorating. After spending countless hours learning all that she could, Christine decorated her first set of cookies in October 2013. In 2016, she decided that she would begin to focus on perfecting her skills, challenging herself each time to create more detailed and progressively complex pieces of cookie art. In 2019, Christine became one of the very first sugar artists from around the world to be named as an "Honourary PME Five Star Sugar Artist" by Knightsbridge PME. You can learn more about Christine's work here on Cookie Connection, and by following her Facebook and Instagram pages.
Photo credit: Christine Dutcher
Note: Practice Bakes Perfect is a bimonthly Cookie Connection blog feature written by Christine Dutcher that poses inspiration or challenges to get you to stretch as a cookie artist - for practice, for prizes, and for fun! Its content expresses the views of the author and not necessarily those of this site, its owners, its administrators, or its employees. Catch up on all of Christine's past Cookie Connection posts here.