I’m sure you’ve seen this, but look!
can you believe
are made of SUGAR?
That’s right, they’re EDIBLE. Handmade. Designed by cake artists. MADE. FROM. FOOD.
As soon as I saw the incredible “A Walk on the Wild Side” collaboration in August I knew I wanted to talk to the team. And also beg them to start making real shoes! In my size!! I’m still having major shoe envy. I mean, just look…
NO PAIR OF SHOES I OWN ARE GOOD ENOUGH ANY MORE!!!
Ahem. As I was saying.
I put together a key set of burning questions, and got a GREAT set of responses – glimpses behind the scenes, the unseen trials & tribulations, & some top advice about sugar shoe-making and collabs to boot! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!
Without further ado, here it is: an interview with the “A Walk on the Wild Side” team!
First off, here’s the mastermind of the collab – Heba M Elalfy of Sweet Dreams by Heba. Here’s her piece – an edible sandal!
Q: How did you come up with the collaboration theme?
I’ve seen many edible shoes created in the past and I wished I could learn to make them too, so to challenge myself, with some doubt and hesitation, I invited some sugar artists from around the globe to join me in this collaboration. Some of them I knew had made sugar shoes before and some of them hadn’t and for those who hadn’t such as myself, I wanted to give them the opportunity to learn and grow, and we’d all be supportive of each other, and it turned out fabulous and a lot of fun! Now I’m eager to get onto creating more shoes! 🙂
Q: How did you decide which artists should be involved in this project?
I browsed several Facebook pages of those sugar artists that have made shoes before, then contacted them to find out if they’d be eager to join me. Most of them said yes, they had the time and will to commit to it. I also browsed other Facebook pages of sugar artists from around the world, some of whom I knew, some of whom were referred to me, and encouraged them to join me in a new experience and challenge.
Q: Were there any challenges or hiccups in the collaboration?
Some of us had doubts we could do these sugar shoes, but we motivated each other. We are all strong women and determined to keep going! Some of us had troubles with our shoes not cooperating with us! 😀
Q: What was your favourite part of the experience?
Getting to know the different personalities in the group and make sincere friendships along the way, as well as having fun working on our individual projects.
Q: Would you hope to host collaborations on a similar theme in the future?
Yes! Something else in the fashion world, make ladies handbags or accessories… watch this space!
Q: What was your feeling when you were invited to the group?
Paula Rodrigues – CAKES Personalizados by Paula: I was thrilled and couldn’t believe it at first because I had never been invited to collaborations.
Rebecca Hauger – Becca’s Edible Art: I was excited and honoured, but really nervous, as sugar shoes have always scared me.
Simona Stabile – Sweet Rocket Queen: I was excited: it would be my first stiletto ever!!!
Trudy Smith – The Chain Lane Cake Co: I was so excited to be asked to join this collaboration. Making a sugar shoe has been on my bucket list for ages so this was the perfect opportunity to have a go.
Audrey Santana – BeautifySugar by Audrey: I was super excited when asked to join the collab, I tried making a shoe just for fun about two years ago but it didn’t turn out so well so I knew I had to take on this challenge.
Jamila Jankipersadsing – Pure Cakes by Mila: I was excited, as I made one shoe before, and happy to get the opportunity to make a shoe again.
Jules Carter – Sugar Studio Seven: I was very excited and my mind started working its way on many designs straight away.
Jodie Whitley – Sugar Tales: I was a little confused at first. I didn’t know Heba at all so the invitation came out of the blue. It made more sense once I saw who was in the group. Then I was excited. This was my first collab.
Karen Zanker – Piped Dreams: I was initially apprehensive when I was first invited to participate in this project. Primarily as I’m a cookie decorator and 3D sugar shoes is not something I’m familiar with doing.
Q: How did you arrive at the inspiration for your piece, and did the design evolve in any way?
Louise Haythornthwaite – Alana Lily Chocolates & Cakes: I googled butterfly shoes as I knew I wanted a butterfly themed shoe. As soon as I saw Alexander McQueen’s butterfly shoe in 3 different colours I knew I wanted it in gold with the orange butterfly.
Rebekah Naomi Wilbur – Rebekah Naomi Cake Design: I had no clear idea until I started to do research, when I found a shoe that I visually connected with and felt inspired to create I started to put a plan together. It was a little trial and error too.
Rebecca: I am a huge Spiderman fan, so I wanted to do something related to him, but something totally unique. Venom is his big bad, and a spinoff of an internal struggle of his, so it was natural to blend the two in a shoe duel.
Jennifer Tocker Moshier – Prima Cakes Plus: I always wanted to make a peacock and thought a peacock shoe would be awesome.
Trudy: I had been looking at some African art pieces made out of beads and thought that a shoe covered in beads would work well.
Sylwia Sobiegraj – Have some cake by Sylwia Sobiegraj: I wanted to create something elegant and romantic.
Jamie Moon – Love Blossoms Cakery: I have been on the search for a fun cowboy boot with colour that expressed my style. When this collaboration came along I thought what a perfect time to create the cowboy boot I want.
Vanda Wallace-Jones – Wally Sugar Art: I knew I wanted to create a shoe in connection with birds, they inspire me with freedom, so I found a shoe with all parrot feathers. At the beginning I was to make it full of colours, but I finally decided to go for gold and silver.
Anna Dallas – Sassy Cakes & Cupcakes: I started off with a completely different idea but then came across this striking image of a geisha that haunted and inspired me. I didn’t feel one shoe was enough to convey the design, so I made a second one.
Joonie Tan – 180 Degree Celcius: I have been a big fan of Game of Thrones and love Nixxi Rose’s shoe design, my design was inspired by one of her versions of GOT’s heels.
Karen: My inspiration? Well, I was looking particularly for a design that I would actually wear. The design didn’t change much from the initial idea. Other than changing how the shoe was put together. Initially I wanted to have the top be made of cookies as well as the base but after snapping a couple of cookies I turned to fondant.
Emma Burman – Pretty Sweet Cakery: Initially I wanted to make something “steampunk” as it’s a style I love but not used. Due to an unexpected family holiday I had to simplify everything massively!
Q: Was there anything challenging about this piece?
Khamphet Che-Bui – Sweet Side of Cakes: There’s lots of challenges. Making the shoe without a mold and kit, no experiences with gumpaste, first time using corn syrup, gluing the beads.
Tracey Aitken – Aitken Bakin’: The piece was my first ever shoe and I had never used wafer paper before, so the whole project was a challenge.
Rebecca: Almost nothing went as planned! I would be far more careful about using good templates in the future.
Jennifer: It pretty much went as planned, I think I would just dust the piece before putting the sole inside next time.
Trudy: I cut out over 2000 circles of fondant in different colours using an icing nozzle and then had to attach them to the shoe without denting or marking them.
Audrey: This shoe was pretty challenging for me because of the humid weather here in Florida. I also tried making isomalt gems for the first time and burned my index finger. The gems didn’t turn out as I hoped but I did the best I could.
Jamila: The texture was very challenging, I tried almost every technique like tools, mats to achieve the texture, but wasn’t satisfied. Finally I came up with something creative.
Zelda Scafidas – Znique Creations: Making the shoe and getting the shape of shoe I wanted. I had never made a shoe with the kit and took 5 goes to get the right style of shoe as the standard template was not what I wanted, so I kept trying and changing the template until I got the right style of shoe.
Anna: the isomalt fish heel was incredibly challenging and took 3 attempts. The front cake lace folds of the second shoe were challenging to achieve the round shape I needed to represent the Geisha’s gorgeous locks. I went through so much cake lace before I was happy with the result!
Jules: It wasn’t too difficult, the hardest thing was covering the shoe in fondant as I couldn’t do it in one piece, so had to try to fix the joins the best way I could.
Jodie: Trying to figure out the template for the main part of the shoe was a challenge. I worked with a template I found online but had to play around with it to make it work.
Michele Walters – Love Life Eat Cake by Michele : I wanted to make something that tied to either the cultures, beliefs or traditions of my background and saw a painting of Anne Stokes dragon and loved it! The biggest challenge was to get the dragons’ bodies to dry on the shoe without them breaking as they were heavy.
Q: Did everything go as planned? Is there anything you’d do differently in the future?
Khamphet: I would choose the easier way; simple design, less time consuming, more wow effect
Rebekah: Nothing went as planned and that was okay, I prefer to work organically and just allow things to take shape… I never intended for the shoe to be bright pink but it really works.
Simona: I love my stiletto just as it is!
Jamie: I have hot hands. There it’s out there. Those don’t work well with fondant and I had to scrap that idea and use modelling chocolate for the top portion. I still had to let it chill and work fast before I melted it. I also used 3 ply wood instead of whole. When I went to boil it to shape it the 3 pieces came apart and I had to glue them back together. Next time I’ll use solid wood.
Zawadi Parizek – Honey Bunny Bake Shop: The fabric on the back of the shoe took a couple of tries to figure out how to attach it to the heel. Give yourself time to try new things and make mistakes. Use the members in your collaboration for advice and help.
Vanda: Not everything was as planned, next time I will not wait to the last moment to work on a project.
Zelda: No – shoes are challenging, lol. Took 4 “practice” shoes and finally the 5th shoe was right. My heels on the first two broke off as the top part of the sole was too thin. The third shoe had the standard template but was not what I wanted and it took two more to get the right style.
Anna: I had so many ideas I could have created another 5 from the same image! So by the time I settled with the design I had to rush through some of the artistic process. But I still loved the challenges and working under pressure because they became my little babies.
Joonie: It went as smoothly as planned! I would have tried gold instead of silver to give a more royal feel!
Q: What would your advice be to anyone participating in a collaboration such as this one?
Paula: I wouldn’t leave it until the last minute.
Rebekah: My number one piece of advice for participating in a collaboration would be to invest in your photography, good photography can make a piece. A good camera is one of the best investments you can make as a cake artist and connecting and working with photographers and getting your work shot professionally makes a huge difference.
Simona: let the shoe dry as much as possible before adding the details, thanks Heba M Elalfy for all your hard work, you’re a super woman!!
Tracey: I’d advise anyone to give it a go. It’s an amazing experience and great opportunity to meet like minded people.
Sylwia: Have fun, make fantastic friends, do not be afraid to ask for help and do not leave your work to the last minute.
Fiona Evans – Fifi’s Cakes: Don’t get disheartened or insecure by what others are doing in the group – everyone is uniquely talented, friendly, supportive and helpful – follow your heart. Thank you Heba M Elalfy xx
Jamila: Start on time, you can’t rely on factors that will occur. Have fun and interact with your team, help each other, but most important, have fun!
Emma: My advice would be to go for it! But also to give yourself time to achieve what you really want to create – and to make sure everything you make is well protected from children and animals! My shoe broke 2 days before the reveal due to my 2 rather clumsy sons! The challenge was to repair it as fast as possible!
What a round-up! many thanks to the ladies for all their wonderful responses – I’m looking forward to your next project already! 😉
To see the full collaboration, visit the Facebook page here.