No doubt about it. This was one difficult job of hair-pulling proportions.
F wanted to splash out on a few birthday cakes for herself. But it wasn’t to celebrate the xxth anniversary of her birth-date, you know, like how people normally do it. She wanted to celebrate the 15,000th day of her being alive. Okay, so 15,000 translates to roughly 41 years. So I suggested that she have four cakes, one to represent each decade, and I asked her to give me some adjectives to describe each decade so I could come up with some designs. This is what she gave me:
1st decade: Receptive, floaty, vague, hungry, frank, unquestioning.
2nd decade: Struggling, montage of ideas, enthusiasm interlaced with disappointment, directionless energy.
3rd decade: Complicated beauty, heavy, burdened, crystalline.
4th decade: Essential simplicity, spirit-centred, full of life, contented, quietly passionate.
If I were a cartoon character, I would have about a million “????” in my thought bubble that day. How do you make cake out of that?? But persistence, as always, prevails. After playing a bit of e-mail ping pong with her, here is what I made:
1st decade: Plain white cake with only a small sugar flower on top, to signify “blank” and “impressionable”.
2nd decade: Square cake with flowers continuing to be the motif, but this time it’s in graphical form. Flower appliques sit side by side with empty imprints, illustrating the “chaotic” and “mosaic” phase.
3rd decade: Cake covered all over with sugar lace, to represent the “beautiful”, “complicated” phase. The flower motif is taken to a more refined, complex level.
4th decade: Two-tier cake decorated with handmade cloudberries and flowers, which is native to Norway where F lived for a while. The fruit signifies the maturity and completion.