Favorite Cake: Birthday Cake with Sugarpaste figurines
"Learn Cake Decorating With Video Tutorials..."
Last year, I attended the Dublin Sugarcraft Guild Competition, and was privileged to attend a demonstration by Carlos Lischetti. He is absolutely amazing at turning a piece of sugar into a living, breathing character full of life and expression. If you haven’t seen any of his work before, it is well worth reading this interview and having a look at some if his creations. He makes it look so simple!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Where are you from?
I am from Rosario, Argentina. Rosario is my hometown, and it is in the province of Santa Fe, 300 km away from Buenos Aires to give you a rough idea of where it is located.
What first got you interested in Sugarcraft?
What really got me interested in sugarcraft is the endless possibilities that working with sugarpaste offers. I discovered that sugarpaste is an incredible medium with which I can create any sort of figurine or novelty cake.
What would you say is your area of specialty?
I would say that modelling is one of the things that I enjoy most in sugarcraft. I have a passion for baking too, but most people know me for my figurines.
What areas would you like to learn more about and improve in?
There are many areas in pastry where I would like to keep on learning, trying and improving. Chocolate sculpting, figures made with modelling chocolate, or even keep trying new things and techniques on figurines with sugarpaste. I feel that there are so many things to discover that I wish I had more time to experiment with new pastes and techniques.
Whose work has inspired you?
There are a lot of people who inspired me along the way. It is difficult to pick one, but Marta Ballina, a sugarcrafter from Argentina, inspired me from the first time I saw her on TV creating her wonderful cakes. In pastry, Pierre Herme is one of my favourites for his unique style and simplicity, and captivating blend of flavours and textures.
What do you find the most challenging aspect of your Sugarcraft?
The most challenging aspect of my craft is basically to transform an idea which has been sketched on paper into a 3D sculpture.
What is the one tool that you couldn’t do without?
For most of my figurines I would normally use a Dresden tool, a ball tool, and a non-stick board. Then you have the basic equipment that you should always have on hand such as good quality paintbrushes, different sized round cutters, and a few plain bladed knifes of different sizes as well.
What are some of the awards that you have won over the years?
To be honest with you, I haven’t won any awards since starting to pursue my passion for sugarcraft many years ago. But I would say that people’s recognition of my work is one of the best awards I could ever get and of course, my parents’ support is also one of the best awards. It’s funny because I have had the chance to enter competitions, but they were not the first thing on my list. Having said this, I feel that competitions are certainly good for us to know where we stand in respect to others in a certain field, but is not something that I am personally keen on doing for now – who knows what will happen in the future.
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?
My first piece of advice would be patience, dedication and not to be afraid of making mistakes when you are starting out. Trial and error is one of the things needed in the process of creating something. This is important to remember when we are working, especially in sugarcraft: if you are just starting out, try not to start with something too intricate. Start with something that is fairly easy to achieve and this will encourage you to keep going to the next level. If you get frustrated when you are doing something, just walk away from your work and leave it until you regain confidence, or at least until you clear your head – although I know that this is not possible when we are doing something against time and we have a deadline ahead. It is also important to pick a course that suits your needs, and most importantly to choose a person with the relevant experience who is giving the course to help you master a certain technique.
Have you got any tips or secrets that you would like to share with our readers?!
If you like modeling with sugar paste, marzipan and so on, I would suggest you get all the basic materials and equipment, and just become comfortable using the modeling tools, and experimenting with paste consistency. This is quite important for me so that when you decide to sign up for a course to master a certain technique, you already have some personal initial experience. This makes mastering the technique quicker and relatively easier. What I am trying to say is that this first experience is important so that you get rid of those initial fears and inhibitions when learning something new, and that you are not blocked before you even start with the modeling process. For modeling, I would suggest first playing with the sugar-paste to make any random shape, rather than a specific one. This is to warm up and loosen your hand movements. Then you can start making a basic shape, using a simple drawing of an object as a reference. My first advice would be that it is important to have a go at home with any of the many subjects that you are interested in, in the sugarcraft field (modeling figures, sugar flowers, piping, etc. etc. etc.). Just get the basic stuff you need to start practicing any of the things that you would like to master.
Can you give us a link to your website so that we can have a look at some of your work?
I have a blog where any people can have a sneak of my work: www.carloslischetti.blogspot.com We are currently working on my webpage which is coming out very soon with exclusive exciting contents.
Thank you so much, Carlos, for giving us some really practical and valuable advice!
Don’t forget to have a look at Carlos’ book for projects that you can try out yourself! You can also find him on Facebook.