April 10, 2021
Gathre Creatives ft. Annie Bee Cakery
As we’ve reflected on art and how it’s made we’ve spent plenty of time thinking about the incredible artists and creatives that we work with. We love to see how our different #Gathrecreatives are defining art in their own everyday lives.
How do you create art? Give us your elevator pitch for what you offer to the world. What mediums do you like to use, what is your style, just give us the low-down as if we haven't already been obsessed with you for a while now.I have always told people that my love language is food. As a creative I have explored many different mediums of art, including pottery, painting, embroidery, origami etc. but I always come back to food as my favorite creative outlet, specifically cakes and desserts. I love watching someone’s face light up when they see what I have created for them but I enjoy even more watching their face when they get to taste it.
Not every person may consider cake decorating to be a form of art but I see the cake as a canvas and my buttercream like my paint. I get to create this beautiful work of art for people that brings them joy to look at and to eat. Someone once asked me if it bothered me when people would cut into and destroy this cake that I had spent hours creating for them but it never has. People often connect feelings with art and what is most important to me as an artist is not how long my art lasts but how my art makes people feel when they see it and when they taste it.
I would consider my style to be very simple, sometimes even minimal. I shy away from bright flashy designs and colors most of the time but I am able to see the beauty in texture, shape and through including natural elements into my work (probably why I am so drawn to Gathre). My goal as a baker is to change peoples mind and perspective about what art can be and also to prove to those people who “don’t like cake” that they just haven’t tried mine yet.
"The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing." Marcus Arelius. This was one of our favorite quotes. We find beauty in the hard times. Share your thoughts on this, and give our followers an insight into a time when you were wrestling with life.I have often heard the quote from Marc Anthony that says, “Do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” There was a time when I almost gave up on doing what I love. When I first started doing cakes I would take every single order that came my way even if it was out of my comfort zone or wasn’t my “style” of cake; even if I was overwhelmed or too busy I would somehow fit it in. My husband was going through school and an internship and we needed all the money we could get. I was working at a local cafe and making cakes on the side for extra money. Sometimes it would be the middle of the night and I would be working on a brightly colored character cake and would think to myself that I hated the cake and I didn’t enjoy doing this at all. I would wonder why I ever loved doing this to begin with as I washed mountains of dishes and drastically undercharged for the work I was doing. This wasn’t how I wanted to feel about something that I was so passionate about.
One day my friend sat me down after I had expressed how I was starting to resent this business that I had started. She told me to stop posting photos of the cakes that I didn’t like making, refer clients with a different style than me to other cake bakers, and to start charging more for the cakes that I did make to make up for the clients I was turning away (and because she knew the value of my time better than I did). This was a turning point in my career and when I truly started to enjoy this art that I was creating.
What are your earliest memories in making life art? How do you remind yourself to find beauty in the everyday during this phase of your life?I have always been interested in art and in doing and making things with my hands since I was a little girl, there is something so satisfying about making something tangible and saying, “I made this!”
Now to me this is a little different than making life art. Making life art isn’t something you can sit down and do in one day and have something to show for it. It’s a daily practice that can take time to learn and it might look different from one person to the next. It is about being mindful and deliberate, it's about taking the mundane things of life and making them beautiful and enjoyable. Every day may not turn out looking the way you want it to, just like every art project doesn’t turn out exactly how you imagined it would.
Often times I find myself stuck in a rut in this phase of life that I am in, with three kids and one on the way I can guarantee that my day to day life is not perfect or the way that I wish that it could be (laundry, dishes, picking up my home, feeding hungry mouths, repeat). But I have found that when I focus on the little things, the beauty that is around me and the reasons for doing all that I do as a mother, it is easier to see these accomplishments and find joy in them.
When I reflect on my earliest memories in making my life art, I really feel that it is when I became a mother. While learning to make my house a home and slowing down in life I have been able to appreciate and see more beauty in living and doing things more intentionally.
Speaking of art, do you have any favorite artists? If you're not an art person, what inspires you to create? Tell us more.Most of my favorite artists aren’t artists in the same field as me. When I first started making cakes a lot of my inspiration came from other cake artists, I always made an effort not to copy anyone's work but I did get a lot of ideas from browsing pinterest and instagram cake accounts.
The longer I’ve done cakes the more that I realize my best ideas have come from other sources of inspiration such as nature, oil paintings (so many times I have thought about how oil paint isn’t really that different than buttercream, I have even used paint brushes to apply it), textures around me, pottery that I have seen, and even from clothing.
There are so many artists whose work I have enjoyed and felt inspired by lately, a couple of them are Ann Marie Coolick, I love the textures she creates with her oil paints. Beanpole Pottery uses more natural colors, shapes and tones that I love. Brian Kershisnik is a long time favorite. Celeste Clark uses the prettiest color palettes and paints such dainty beautiful things I wish I could have her paint one of my cakes. I could continue to list more artists, and there are so many things around me that inspire me to create each day. I will say that the one thing that inspires me to not create is how many dishes I have to wash ;)
We see our products as forms of art themselves. How do you see Gathre products as art in your home? Whether it's a tapestry, poster, cushion, or mat. Tell us how they bring art and elevation to your life.I have always loved the simple beauty and natural aesthetic and functionality of the Gathre products I have in my home (which is definitely more than 10 items).
Three years ago we moved out of a rental and renovated our first home, I finally loved the space that I lived in and I decided that I was going to try to only bring in pieces to my home that elevated the space and brought me joy when I looked at them. I didn’t want to hide things away in drawers and cupboards because they didn’t feel right in my home. I spend so much time in my kitchen that I really wanted to love the pieces that I put in there, tablecloths, floor mats, aprons, even bibs! It was so easy to incorporate all these Gathre items into my home and I truly display them like I would art, never hidden away in cupboards and drawers.
Because food is so important to me, obviously eating is too! We love to take our gathre mats on picnics even if it is just in our backyard, it makes even a peanut butter sandwich picnic feel a little more special. My kids each have a tapestry in their room and my boys love finding places we learn about on their world map. I love that it's not only a piece of art but also an educational learning tool in our home.
We've been thinking a lot about having a few elevated pieces rather than a bunch of stuff, when it comes to home, clothing, everything. Any advice on how to appreciate quality over quantity?
Learning how to appreciate quality over quantity is something that has taken some time for me to learn. I used to buy items because they were cheap and fit into my budget and I thought that I “needed” them. I have slowly learned that you get what you pay for. My husband has always cared about quality over quantity, he never buys things on a whim, he makes sure he researches the product, reads reviews, likes the way the product looks and functions and he knows it will be a worthwhile purchase that lasts him a long time.
Being a baker I was flying through cheap $15 hand mixers, constantly burning out the motor. He realized I was spending a ton of money on cheap mixers when I could just get a really nice more expensive hand mixer and in the end it would cost me less money. He gave me a nice one for Christmas and it is going on four years of use and it still works perfectly. I can name so many more examples that have taught me this concept and now I try really hard to minimize what I purchase and make sure I am investing in good products that will last longer and I know I will enjoy more (like my Gathre products!).
Lastly, give us your take on the quote "To make living itself an art, that is the goal."
To me this quote is more about perspective than anything else. It is so easy to ignore the beauty around us all the time but if we can open our eyes and change our perspective we can see art, creativity and beauty all around us even in the most simple of circumstances. You don’t have to have all the money, you don’t have to travel the world, you don’t have to have 100 best friends and a perfectly curated instagram account. You just need to look around you, figure out what makes YOU happy, hold on tight to your values and what is important to you and then I believe you can make living itself art.