Thursday, 25 September 2014

Baking & Art


If you have spent more than a couple of minutes on this blog, you might have noticed that I enjoy baking. This Summer, I decided to open a pop up bakery as a way of creating an outlet for my constant desire to bake. As I mentioned in my recent post, 500 Cakes of Summer, what started as a bit of a dream, has turned into a wonderful reality of baking regularly for people whom I have met as a result of starting the pop up bakery. Over the course of my cake filled Summer, I thought a lot about how baking is intrinsically linked with creativity for me, and it is this creative element in cake making that I greatly appreciate.

A while back, I started an art project that I had been thinking about for a while. We had a big canvas left over from our wedding, and after seeing Elise's post on painting song lyrics onto a canvas, I felt inspired to do something similar. So I started this project, writing out the words in pencil that I wanted to adorn this canvas with. But I got stumped at the first sign of failure. My lettering was uneven, and it just didn't fit into the space that I was working within. Defeated, I returned the canvas to the spot where it had sat in our lounge for almost a year since we moved here. (Bear with me, you'll soon see the connection between painting and baking!) The following day, I gathered together the ingredients from my cupboard that I needed in order to bake something tasty. As I settled into the familiar rhythm of weighing ingredients, mixing until the consistency was just right, and the house started to fill with aromas of baking, I found myself thinking, 'this is my art. This is where I can create and feel comfortable with it.'

The truth is, I had always wanted to be good at painting, but I never quite managed to translate the vision in my head into something that looked beautiful with paper and paint. As a teenager, when I felt surrounded by talented artistic friends and family, I would paint (because I needed a creative outlet), and then tear up what I had created and turn it into something else. This was quite a deliberate approach to my art - if I deliberately tore it up, I was less likely to feel disappointed with the picture as a whole.

It took me a long time to make the connection with baking and my need to be creative. As I baked on the day following my failed attempt at painting my giant canvas, it dawned on me that one of the reasons I love baking is because it provides me with an opportunity to create, but the creations aren't permanent. If I like what I have made, I can capture it on camera, to have a lasting record. But if it doesn't work out, it's ok, because it will be eaten and then I don't have to feel like it's been a waste. An added bonus of baking is sharing my cakes with others and seeing people enjoy what I have made. Art and baking bring people a lot of joy, for different reasons. It goes without saying that the enjoyment you gain from a piece of art is far less transient than the happiness you get when you eat some delicious cake. And I am more than ok with the temporary enjoyment that comes with baking, because it means that there is always an opportunity to bake again.

2 comments:

  1. I think that painting and drawing are simply particular expressions of general artistic creativity, like being able to hit a tennis ball accurately or row efficiently are of general sporting ability. You are clearly very artistic in lots of ways and both the visual and edible manifestations are much appreciated :)

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  2. I'm totally with you Hannah; baking is my 'go-to' when I want to do something creative that can be done relatively quickly (as opposed to a sewing project, or decorating the house!) and I love to share it, if there's too much for my family, which is rare :) Rachel

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