Sunday, March 21, 2010

Soaper gets sweet! Part 1...

Soaping is a huge passion of mine because I love chemistry and I love essential oils.  I also love baking which is chemistry and flavors.  Other than the fact that soap isn't edible, the two hobbies are very similar because they involve precise measurements, patience, and they please your senses.

Last week, I was lucky enough to take a class in sugar artistry.  It's not quite like baking but it involves precision and patience.  Chef Chris Malham at Lake Washinton Technical College in Kirkland, WA was the teacher.  He has many years of pastry experience and learned sugar artistry from Ewald Notter, who is widely regarded as one of the best sugar artists in the world.

In class, we learned to color sugar and to create bubble sugar, sugar ribbons, pulled sugar, and how to blow sugar. It was both fun and frustrating.  Chris and my classmates were fun.  But, the sugar was frustrating - it's hot, it's temperamental and when cool, it's fragile.

On day one, we learned a few techniques and made a flower.  Mine is rose-like.  It's in a sugar cage.

On day 2 & 3, we made clowns.  Techniques used: Coloring sugar, making sugar ropes (the base is a coiled rope), blowing sugar, sugar ribbons and hiding errors with sugar.  Chris made the stand of straw sugar for the clown and the elf (and, other bits and pieces).
Note bubble sugar in the bottom right corner:

On the final day, we cast sugar and colored it with powders, then made blown sugar elf creatures.  They were inspired by Ewald Notter's snowman (see below).  The cast sugar is the base, with a straw sugar stand and then, Mr. Elf.
Sugar base and straw sugar:

The four day class was amazing.  It was topped off by a visit from the Ewald Notter.  He was at LWTC to teach a class and did a wonderful demo.

Blown sugar swan, ribbon, bubble sugar, pastillage and wonderful dessert by Andrew Logan:
Pulled sugar flower, ribbon and airbrushed pastillage base:
Snowman that inspired the blue elf:

If you have a chance to learn about making things from sugar, I recommend you take it.  It was fun and I learned skills I can use to impress you when you come over for dinner.  :) 

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