We interviewed Jamie Houghton, sugar candidate for the team UK. He gives us the secrets of his creations which allows him to obtain the special prize «Sugar».
Can you describe step by step the processes for the ribbon?
For me, ribbon is one of the most beautiful techniques in sugar. A simple repetition of sugar can end in this beautiful pattern of shine. I have spent a lot of time developing the right recipe and the right sugar that works for me to create the maximum impact and shine.
There is a very strict set of rules: temperature, quantity of sugar and the fineness of the end ribbon.
- Temperature is key. Too hot and it will be dull, too cold and you can't pull it. For maximum shine you need to find the middle, the edge of breaking and once you have found this, the shine will be impressive.
- If you have too much sugar at the start there is too much to handle at the end. When I set up for my ribbon on my lamp, my rolls of sugar are the size of my middle finger. This way there is never too much sugar to be able to handle, no matter the pattern of the ribbon.
- The fineness of the finished ribbon is crucial. If too thick, you will have not a great shine and something that does not look impressive, but too thin and you will have something that is too delicate to be able to stick with strength
What technique did you use to create the incredible sugar fish ?
With the fish, once the sugar was cooked it was poured into a mould which was slowly warmed up in the oven. Once at the correct texture I wrapped it around a rolling pin and blew it. I didn't fold it at all so you don't get any marks in the sugar, which is why it is so clear without marks. The angle it was stuck, it was important also, it was blown quite thin to be more clear, so for it not to break the sticking was important.
Can you tell us your strengths dealing with sugar art?
My strength is pulled sugar; flowers, ribbon or strands. I've been lucky enough to have been taught the importance of volume in pulled work. The more impressive shine you have in volume, whether with flowers, ribbon, petals or leaves, this makes for a stand with real impact. Characters and molding are very skilled, but the art of pulling sugar to maximize technique and shine is unbeatable
What kind of advice would you give to candidates in sugar art?
Learn your craft. Understand it and know where the limitations are. Push your strengths to a new limit to make them beyond impressive. The quality of my sugar is purely through repetition and understanding of the ingredients. This is the vital in order to take anything to the next level!