Every so often, I’m sent images that really take my breath away…and I had one of those moments when I first clapped eyes on Amy Swann’s incredible wedding cakes! As you’ll see when you read further, they are like works of art! It gives me great pleasure to feature an interview with Amy today, for this week’s Wedding Wednesday blog post…
Could you tell us what prompted you to become a cake designer?
My interest in cake design started when I was asked to decorate cakes for friends’ weddings and family celebrations. Over time, by word of mouth, my business grew. But things really took off when I was selected as one of six finalists in the Country Homes and Interiors magazine ‘Country Business of the Year’ competition in 2012. This marked a major turning point and gave me the confidence to build my own brand, with its own strong creative identity.
When did you start your business and where are you based?
I’m based in Wales in a little village on the Cheshire border, but I take on commissions across the whole of the UK. My business started over 6 years ago, although I’ve been decorating cakes for years…the process has been very organic and always very exciting!
What kind of cakes do you make?
Most of my commissions are wedding cakes. People are getting more and more creative and they want the cake as a main focal point to tie in with their vision. I love being a part of this special process. I also adore working on creative pieces for magazine room sets. I’m often commissioned to follow a design brief that ties in with the other products featured. I love to see my work in lifestyle magazine photo shoots.
Could you tell us about the design process for creating your cakes?
I just love flowers and the beauty of nature…the colour combinations, textures, delicacy and sensitivity of a single flower is so exquisite. I thrive on the challenge of interpreting their beauty in my own way. I approach a subject by sourcing as much information on the flowers as possible by drawing and photographing them. I refer to many flowers that grow in our garden or in our local florist, who specialise in wild flowers.
Colour is a really important part of what I do. I love trawling through blogs such as Flowerona and Pinterest to gather a range of source material to put together a unique colour scheme for each cake I’m working on to perfect the right colour combination. They often have a vintage/country garden feel…I seem to escape to a fantasy secret garden in my imagination.
I sketch the layout of each cake after discussing my ideas with the client, and then develop the final outcome freely and organically until I’m happy with the balance of the composition. I don’t tend to obsess about the formalities of sugarcraft as I see icing as a modelling medium which should be used experimentally. I work from a real flower and find my own way of representing it. I also incorporate techniques such as piercing and embossing the icing. Food colourings are used as I paint and delicately add detail to each one, like a miniature sculpture. The same goes for my illustrations. They’re very free and experimental, and clients get an illustration alongside the cake as a keepsake.
Where do you get the inspiration for the floral decorations on your cakes?
I’m inspired by interiors, vintage fabrics, botanical illustrations and ceramic patterns…anything beautiful. I love muted and faded colours. My illustrative background comes from my training in textile design. I specialised in surface pattern with a very strong focus on drawing, colour and texture. Painting flowers featured strongly in my work.
What are your plans for 2014?
2014 will be a busy year for me with a few very exciting projects in the pipeline, which at the moment I am unable to discuss. Watch this space! You can see my most recent commission in Country Homes and Interiors magazine in their April issue. ‘Violet Walk’ is reminiscent of beautiful secret places where I used to play as a child. I remember wild violets and primroses carpeted around the trees and fields in Wales where I grew up.
Thank you so much to Amy for contacting me and for all her help in compiling today’s blog post. To see more of her phenomenal cake designs, do pop over to the Amy Swann Cakes website.
To keep up-to-date with Amy’s news, here’s where you can find her on social media:
(Images : Amy Swann)