What I love most about my job is that I get the chance to meet so many talented locals. Last year, I met Anna Hughes who is an Oakham based artist and owner of Anya's Studio. Anna uses her love of art and painted to customise items of clothing and has recently launched a shop on her website selling her bespoke pieces of art and fashion.
At a networking event last summer, I introduced Anna to Michele Walters of Love Life Eat Cake. Michele (also based in Oakham) is an award-winning cake creator and sugar artist. Following their meeting, the pair decided to collaborate... on a cake for my brothers 21st birthday!
My brother and father restore vintage Land Rovers in their spare time, so I had the idea of a Land Rover Series 2 shooting scene as the inspiration for the design of the cake and the finished design totally blew me away!
I was honoured to be the first customer that these two extremely talented female business owners from Oakham were collaborating together to showcase their talents on a rather unusual canvas that is a cake. I interviewed Anna and Michele to find out more about their collaborations, their businesses and their skills...
Take a read!
Q1: What a fabulous idea for you to collaborate your talents on a cake! It really makes each cake super unique and personal. What gave you the idea/inspiration to do this together?
Michele: When I met Anna and saw her work, I totally fell I love. She is incredibly talented and I knew we would be able to collaborate and provide our clients with the best of both art forms.
Anna: We met at a business networking event and immediately hit it off. I love a challenge and, when Michele suggested painting on a cake I thought it was a brilliant way to try something new and test my skills. Michele makes such beautiful cakes so the pressure was on to do a good job of the blank canvas she gave me!
Q2: Your both based in Oakham but please tell our readers more about your businesses?
Michele: Love Life Eat Cake is a home-based business that specialises in wedding cakes however at the moment I do make celebration cakes and wedding favours as well. I also love pushing the boundaries and collaborate with other cake and sugar artists in the UK and globally at cake shows and sometimes collaborations to raise awareness and funds for charities.
I also teach cake decoration and sugar art.
Anna: I paint. Anything and everything! I love to work in bright colours but I do a range of different things from hand-painted jackets and shoes, through pet portraits to murals and now cakes. Basically, if you can paint on it, I’ll give it a try! Most of my work is bespoke and I love working with clients to create the perfect piece of art for them.
Q3: So, Michele (Love Life Eat Cake) you’re quite the popular cake artist in Rutland, how many local wedding cakes have your done and do you have a signature?
Michele: I don’t really have a signature, I believe my clients should have a wedding cake that is personalised to them whether it’s a simple design with a few sugar flowers or one that tells their story, I do love the latter most.
Q4: Anna (Anya’s Studio) you’re so talented, I purchased a denim jacket design from you and it’s more amazing than I could’ve imagined. When did you realise you have such an art and what made you decide to work on fashion rather than traditional canvas?
Anna: I’ve always been encouraged to be creative and spent my childhood painting and making things. Fast forward to three years ago when we moved to Oakham, from Lancashire, and I was determined to decorate all three bedrooms before baby number two arrived. Never one to be a fan of Magnolia, I managed to create three themed rooms will full murals (Northern Lights, Monument Valley and Under the Sea) in just three months and with a very huge belly! It was amazing to get painting again and I realised how much I loved it. I actually can’t remember why I first decided to paint on clothing but I do remember it was a denim jacket for my eldest son. I’ve always loved fashion and to be able to create something so unique that was wearable was super exciting. I’ve pretty much not looked back since, plus the work fits beautifully around being able to look after my two boys. My favourite things to paint are probably jackets and shoes for weddings as you know they’re going to be a part of something really special. It’s a total honour to be asked to be a part of someone’s big day and there are so many details from people’s flowers, themes or love stories that I can include. Although I do love painting people’s pets too, especially when you can bring out a bit of their character! I once did a huge A1 painting of seven cats for a client and you could tell they all had such different personalities from their photos and it was a great challenge to try and get this across through my painting.
Q5: The cake you both designed was a Victoria sponge cake for my brothers 21st birthday and it was just perfect! How long does it take for you to create a cake like this? Anna, what was it like to swap a fashion canvas for icing?
Michele: From baking to the blank canvas finish ready for Anna to paint on, it took approximately 3 hours.
Anna: In all honesty, it was pretty scary! The style of painting meant there was very little room for error so I had to be really precise and I was very scared about ruining the beautiful cake Michele had made. Plus, the angle I
had to paint at made it more tricky. But I was so pleased with how it turned out and I do love visiting Michele’s cake room - it smells amazing!!!
Q6: Your painted cakes really do make the possibilities of cake design endless? What kinds of things have you got planned for future painted cake possibilities or if our readers are struggling for cake inspiration for an upcoming event, birthday?
Michele: As you said, the possibilities are endless! We have already collaborated on a 3 tier wedding cake with the middle tier painted in autumnal colours and plum flowers to match the fresh flowers used on the cake and the top and bottom tiers painted to match the colour theme of their wedding decor.
We are planning more wedding cake designs for 2019 and have lots of exciting ‘doodles’ in our minds already.
Anna: I love painting florals and we’ve also collaborated on a 3-tier wedding cake where I painted flowers on the middle layer so there’ll hopefully be some more of those on the horizon. Michele makes gorgeous sugar paste flowers so we were hoping to maybe create a design where the painted flowers then emerge from the cake into sculpture. Bright colours will, of course, be involved too!
Q7: Thank you so much for your hard work on completing this amazing cake for a special occasion. Finally, what does it mean to both to own a business in Rutland and how can our readers get in touch if they’re interested in your services?
Michele: You are most welcome, it was a pleasure.
Rutland is an amazing county to live in and although my business keeps me incredibly busy, I am only minutes away from beautiful country walks if I need to just chill and clear my mind.
Get in touch via email to email@example.com
or call 07503412335 / 01572 756957
Anna: I love having my own business and the freedom it gives me, plus the ability to work closely with clients. I’m relatively new to Rutland, having only lived here for three years, but I have no plans to ever leave! I absolutely love living in such a small rural town and I like how there are so many small businesses who are all so supportive of each other. My new website is now LIVE at www.anyasstudio.co.uk and if you’d like to see more of my work you can follow me on Instagram or Facebook @anyasstudio. If you’re interested in chatting about commissioning something bespoke you can contact me via one of my social media accounts or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org. I love to chat so don’t be shy!
[Please note this blog post contains items which were kindly gifted]