"The simplest things are often the truest. "
- Richard Bach
Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better. This is something that we hear quite often. It is something that we try to embody and it is also something that celebrated sugar flower artist, Arati Mirji strongly believes in.
There is an abundance of bakers in India. But Arati is one of the few sugar flower artists in the country. She makes beautiful, delicious sugar flowers that are precise and resemble real flowers to the T. Her captivating art truly has to be seen to be believed.
We were fortunate enough to have a conversation with her about her special art and have shared her interesting journey and valuable insights.
Q. How did you first get started with baking/cake decorating?
This was about 5 years ago, I first got into baking when I enrolled in Lavonne Academy for the City and Guilds Diploma Course. I did the usual baking and taking orders for about a year but after that, I got to know about the sugar flower art and really fell in love with its whole beauty. I took a three-day basic class for it and then there was no looking back. Since then I’ve been making flowers.
As we can see, unless we explore, we will never be aware of the opportunities that lie out there. Arati did exactly this and found her true passion.
Q. What are some of the things you do differently now than when you first started baking and cake decorating?
Earlier I used to take a lot of cake orders and make kid’s cakes, wedding cakes and all of that. Right now I only make sugar flowers and teach sugar flower art. I don’t take cake orders anymore. I take workshops all over India and participate in competitions and collaborations.
Finding our passion helps us to focus on it and cultivate our craft. This is evident on Arati’s website which displays her outstanding work on sugar flower art.
Q. What was your experience of winning the Cake Masters Magazine Award 2018 and standing 1st in the Sugar Flower Category at Cake International 2018?
They are very prestigious awards which every decorator aspires for and I had been trying for the Cake Masters for the past two years, 2016 and 2017. I was one of the finalists, got lucky the third time and won the award. As for Cake International, I have been visiting for the past two years and won the first place Gold in the third year when I participated. I was speechless looking at the work that cake artists put out there from all over the world. The level of expertise they have is something you need to see to believe.
Winning the Cake Masters has been a matter of huge pride for Arati because she is the first Indian to have won the award. At Cake International, the thought of entering the competition was quite daunting for her as there were a lot of transportation challenges including carrying the materials and extremely fragile sugar flowers all the way to Birmingham, UK. But in the third year, her efforts paid off and she is glad she did not back out.
Q. What has been your greatest challenge?
For flower art, getting the proper tools in India was the biggest challenge. I had to rely on friends and family who lived abroad to actually procure the required materials and for making the sugar flowers, the trickiest part was that I was working with a medium that was so delicate and fragile, so assembling it all together was tough because most of the breakages happen after you finish the flowers when you try to assemble them.
Another challenge for her was trying to be on par with the techniques of all the other artists in the world, to whom the materials were easily accessible, while she would struggle to find the tools.
Q. What is your favourite baking/cake decorating tools?
That’s an easy one! My collection of Veiners is the most precious tool. I value them more than my jewellery so that should tell you how much I love them (giggles). Veiners are quite expensive and not readily available in India. I have to source them from abroad.
Well, we’ve got to do what we got to in order to get the perfect result!
Q. So which one of your cakes and flower art is your favourite?
I had made a Saraswati out of sugar for the Global Sugar Artists Network competition for Artistic Excellence and I won the 2nd place for that. If you ask about flowers then I would definitely say my Cake International composition till date has been the most complicated and precious to me.
While she has her favourites, Arati says her most challenging flower art to create has been the pincushion flowers. Challenging but pretty, we say!
Q. For the budding cake decorating or flower artists out there what is that one piece of advice, you would give?
A piece of advice that I would give to everybody and something I believe in myself is that you need to strive for excellence and do your best in whatever it is you choose to do whether it is baking or cake decorating, try and be the best in that, keep updating your skills and never settle for mediocre work.
Specifically for sugar flower artists, my advice is your whole sense of observation has to change. You need to have a new perspective of looking at flowers and leaves. There is a wealth of information that you get when you see a real flower and then translate it into making a sugar flower. That is when you take it to a different level. The most important thing is having a keen sense of observation.
Finding our passion, striving to be the best at our work is absolutely essential. Never settle and keep observing, keep learning.
Q. That is really important advice. To round up this interview, what does The Bakers Collective mean to you?
The Bakers Collective is a place where all the bakers will come together for lots of fun, laughter, learning and getting new experiences.
We would like to acknowledge Arati’s amazing achievements which prove why she is known as one of the sugar flower queens of India –
- She has been the winner of the Cake Masters Award for Sugar Flowers at the Cake Masters Magazine Awards – 2018.
- Arati was awarded the Top Ten Cake Artist for Cake Masters Magazine, India in 2017 and 2018.
- Her other big achievement has been winning the first place Gold in the sugar flower category at Cake International 2018.
- Arati has also won many awards in international sugar flower forums and various national and international magazines have featured her beautiful art.
- She has also conducted online tutorials on CakeFlix which is the world’s top online cake decorating educational platform.
We appreciate Arati’s wonderful talent and are sure her unique art and insights will inspire us to always do our best in our endeavours.