It's that time of year again, Feliz Dia de los Muertos! The Mexican Day of the Dead tradition honors the dearly departed every November 1st with brightly colored sugar skulls and playful representations of death, celebrating the lives the departed lived, instead of just grieving their loss. I was thrilled to once again participate in the Sugar Skull Bakers cake and sugar artist collaboration, the brain-child of cake artsit Berry Rabago and graphic designer Yuki Navarro Guerrero. Check out the facebook page for more than 100 other interpretations on the theme by cake artists from around the globe!
Here is my piece from last year
My piece this year had 2 main inspirations, the first being this self portrait by Frida "La Venadita", which portrayed her as a deer, and I just love antlers, so I knew I had to add them.
My other inspiration was this beautiful piece by Audrey Kawasaki (check out her blog here for other gorgeous work) Those eyes just haunted me (in a lovely way :)
Because this was going to just be a display piece I opted to make a dummy cake with styrofoam, here is my styro with my reference skull (pretty nice shape and detail for a $6 skull I found at the grocery store of all places)
Adding modeling chocolate
Comparing the two, obviously my skull was still way too flat at this point, always have references!!
Then I added fondant and textured it too look like bone
For my antlers I attached wires to bamboo skewers, then covered with aluminum foil, and then masking tape (too make it easier for the modeling chocolate to stick)
Then the painting (a combination of gel colors thinned with vodka and airbrush food colors)
I spent so much time making the markings for the cranial plates I didn't want to cover them, but the more I looked at it, the more I knew she needed more "hair" and had to paint over the fissures :(
Ack! The antlers , even though being pretty lightweight with the foil , wouldn't stay upright.
I was pretty disappointed at that point, but the solution was actually pretty simple, I pulled out the antlers, and added another long skewer, when anchored at two points they couldn't swivel anymore :)
She still looked pretty plain to me, but too be honest, I was pretty tired and in no mood to make sugar flowers, so a quick Google search turned up numerous tutorials for coffee filter flowers, and voila! Each flower only took me 5 minutes since I just airbrushed them. The blog I based my flowers on is here. I really wanted lit candles for these next shots, but I didn't want to set my living room on fire :)