Hello, fellow cookiers from around the world! As mentioned at the start of this challenge, one of the most amazing things about Cookie Connection is that it allows us the wonderful opportunity to connect with cookiers from across the globe. It is here that you will find a wonderfully diverse array of decorated cookies with designs often influenced by a person's traditions, culture, and heritage.
For this challenge, our members went above and beyond with their entries by creating beautifully decorated cookies depicting what heritage means to them. I highly recommend that you check out all of the clips, as they are accompanied by some very interesting stories of culture and tradition, and are a great way to learn more about our fellow Cookie Connection members.
But before we get to our entries, let's talk about our AMAZING PRIZE! One lucky entrant was chosen at random from among all of the challenge entrants to receive a $100 gift certificate to the online store Country Kitchen SweetArt, generously donated by Cookie Connection Founder and Host, @Julia M. Usher. Thank you, Julia!
And the randomly drawn winner of Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #45 is . . . @Goloven Olga! CONGRATULATIONS, Olga! I know you will make good use of your Country Kitchen SweetArt gift certificate!
And now, here are our spotlighted artists for Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #45. In no particular order . . .
In Kashubian by Edyta KołodziejFor her entry, Edyta beautifully recreated a traditional Kashubian folk art pattern, explaining that the embroidery elements are symbols associated with the life and nature of Kashubia. Our judges were impressed by Edyta's very clean and true-to-color work, as well as the mesh pattern airbrushed onto the cookies, which adds realism to her embroidery design. As one judge observed, "Edyta describes her inspiration so lovingly. The intricate folk art patterns featured in her cookies are gorgeous and piped with impressive precision." This entry really does a wonderful job of highlighting the beauty of Polish folk art.
Heritage Cookie by Zeena
I love how Zeena used a tree to represent her Sri Lankan heritage. As she explains,
"Our traditions, values, and culture are instilled in us as we grow. To me, they're rooted, like a tree." Our judges agreed, saying, "Zeena's tree metaphor is quite accurate and meaningful. The design is really effective in that the branches encourage you to follow and more closely examine the elements of each cookie. Again, the stories and traditions behind the cookies are as captivating as the cookies themselves." Zeena's tree depicts many meaningful aspects of her heritage with such incredible detail. I highly recommend that you read the comments to her entry to learn more about her own personal history, as well as the important aspects of her culture that have been so beautifully depicted.
Yazz combined several techniques and media to create this vibrant entry inspired by traditional Mexican ranchera music. Our judges gushed over this set, "Beautiful set and details! I like the dress and its vibrant colors so much," said one judge. Another added, "Yazz has designed a beautiful set of cookies, infused with passion for her country and mariachi. The colors and themes are so vivid and enticing." The brush embroidery, lace effect, and handpainted elements really take this set to the next level. Yazz included some wonderful comments describing how her cookies relate to her heritage and to her country's national symbols and traditional costumes. She even suggested a few Mexican songs to listen to while we admire the beauty of her work!
What could be more Canadian than maple syrup and bacon? As one judge observed, "Teresa has taken such a unique approach to the challenge by allowing traditional Canadian flavors to take center stage." And no matter where you go in Canada, you can always find the beloved maple leaf, often in the form of a treat made with maple sugar, of course!
For this stunning cookie array, Olga replicated Petrykivka, the national painting style of Ukraine. This process involved selecting edible gouache and other tools that would keep the characteristics of the painting authentic. Our judges loved the cookie version of this art form and admired the puzzle-like presentation, which is rich with symbolism. "Gorgeous cookies, vibrant colors! This cookie composition gives me all the vibes, and looking at the work-in-progress photos helps to appreciate every single detail," exclaimed one judge. Another added, "Such a beautiful, vibrant set! Olga's cookies feel so joyful. Her love and pride for her country and its traditions are unmistakable."
Sumo Wrestling by Ryoko ~Cookie Ave.
In the words of one of our judges, "This challenge was made for Ryoko. Her cookies are almost always a window into her culture, and her sumo wrestlers are no exception. I enjoyed learning the history and traditions behind sumo, and I chuckled at how Ryoko incorporated herself as a sponsor." I love that Ryoko made marshmallow fondant for the first time to create the white rope on the apron. She did an excellent rendition, which looks exactly like the real thing. Not only did Ryoko do an incredible job of bringing her characters to life in cookie form, but she also told a wonderful story that was as amusing as it was informative.
Heritage by LisaF
All of the judges agreed that Lisa put a tremendous amount of thought, planning, and effort into her entry. "I love how Lisa explained everything so precisely down to the smallest detail and, above all, depicted it! This project was certainly very time-consuming work," observed one judge. Another commented, "Lisa was able to incorporate so many little details and traditions from her diverse background while still keeping everything cohesive. I loved hearing the story behind each heirloom. And the Middle Eastern ingredients she's integrating into her cookie dough sound amazing!" Equally important was just how much Lisa challenged herself with this entry, not only in terms of the composition, but also in terms of finding solutions to the setbacks in construction. And despite wanting to give up, she persevered and ended up learning a great deal from it all. The result of these efforts is a wonderful cookie scene that teaches us all about Lisa's heritage and, I'm sure, brings back some wonderful memories for her family.
And that concludes another Practice Bakes Perfect challenge. But, before we go, I have an important housekeeping request . . .
*** IMPORTANT - READ ON! ***
I would very much appreciate if everyone - those who have entered our challenges and those who have not - would answer my Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge Feedback Survey. The goal of these challenges has always been to inspire and motivate you to push yourself, take healthy risks, and try new ideas so that you may reach your full potential as cookie artists. We have covered many topics over the years, and, in an ever-evolving cookie world, I want to make sure that these challenges reflect topics that are current and relevant, and that you would most enjoy participating in. With this in mind, please take a few moments to answer our short survey by May 15, which is when I'll be doing a data-dump of all of your answers to see what you had to say! !
[EDITOR'S NOTE: I am also very interested to learn how important these challenges are to your overall experience on Cookie Connection. For instance, should we do more of them? less of them? Should the topics or format be tweaked? Or should the challenges be completely overhauled? Or perhaps a new feature should take their place? This particular challenge had an unusually low participation rate, and because the challenges take a good deal of volunteer resources to pull off each month, I want to be sure they are bringing everyone the maximum joy and educational benefit. So, PLEASE, PLEASE do take the survey, as I too will be using the responses to make some important decisions about the shape of our challenges going forward. Thank you! ~ JMU]
*** AGAIN, TAKE SURVEY HERE ***
Thank you to everyone who participated, liked, and commented on this month's entries. Make sure to look for our next challenge, which will post on or about May 9, 2021.
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.