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  • Melissa Terlizzi

An Update on the Cake Couple


I am nearly finished! I can finally see the proverbial light at the end of the cake topper tunnel. Once I complete the shoes and create the base--and muster up every last scrap of courage--the final step will be to paint everything. (Painting this is what scares me most!)


Do my bride and groom look exactly like the real bride and groom? No. But they do look reasonably like a human man and a human woman, and I had to decide that that was good enough. And you know what? I am actually really happy with them! This project was so far outside my comfort zone that my comfort zone was no longer even a tiny speck on the horizon. Every step from armature to armpit involved doing something with clay or wire that I have never done before--never thought of doing before. And for an artist who tends to stick pretty close to what she knows--the whole exercise was scary, but also kinda exhilarating.


Tiny spectacles

Along the way, I was frustrated by what seemed like a disconnect between what my eyes were seeing in photographs, and what my fingers could execute in clay. But I kept at it, and after making and rejecting 7 heads, I settled on heads #8 and 9. I made 6 tiny pairs of spectacles to get 2 pairs I liked; and spent an entire day styling just the bride's hair.


My dad used to say to me all the time (probably when I was pestering him about something): Patience is a Virtue. Maybe I am only now ready to understand what that means. I have been trying and failing, and trying again. I am taking my time, and am confident that it will pay off.


So, am I ready to drop everything and open up a custom cake topper shop? Oh, hell, no. Never. But I AM feeling newly confident and super proud of my willingness to try something that made me uncomfortable. I can't grow creatively if I don't stretch, and this was a big stretch.


Shout out to Maureen Carlson, and her 2000 book, Family and Friends in Polymer Clay. It was given to me years ago, but I never really picked it up before this project. I never would have been able to do this without using her book as reference and guide!


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