Cupcakes that make you go ... mmm

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Tara Bradbury, Alicia Simmms and Cassandra Dodsworth pose with the inspiration for their upcoming mixed media art show  Photo courtesy Sandra Elford Photography

St. John's -

When is the last time you had a cupcake? Did it have icing? How about a cherry or sprinkles?
Artist Alicia Simms has been inspired by the wonderful world of cupcakes, organizing a themed art show: "Get Baked! Art for your Sweet Tooth!"
"I have a slight obsession with cupcakes ... Ask anyone who knows me," Simms said. "I have cupcake pajamas, cupcake dishes, a cupcake wallet, cupcake belt. I even have cupcakes tattooed on me! It's a little out of control."
So how does an interest in cupcakes become a flash of art?
"Cupcakes themselves have become their own art form. It's amazing what people can do with different types of icing these days. So earlier in the fall it hit me - I could totally produce an art show based solely on the cupcake and it would be amazing," Simms told The Telegram this week.
The art show Simms envisioned will not be a display of well-iced baked goods. Instead, it will feature mixed-media creations inspired by the well-known sweet treat.
Asking a few friends to join in the project, Simms said she soon received queries on the event from other artists she did not know - all wanting a taste.
The group participating now includes Simms, Tara Bradbury, Cassandra Dodsworth, Helen Davis, Hilary Young-Laite, Lori Ann Benson, Peggy Tremblett, Jared Reid, Jodi Rideout and Andrew Davis.
There will be no set admission charge for the event, however a donation jar will be set at the entrance to the show at the Arts and Culture Centre (Irwin's Court, main floor) and donations to the artists are encouraged.
Many of the art pieces created for the show will also be up for sale during the event.
Space for the "Get Baked!" was donated by the Arts and Culture Centre and all artists have agreed to donate a portion of their proceeds to Marguerite's Place.
Marguerite's Place is a project named for Marguerite Dyson. An Inuit woman living in St. John's, Dyson was a volunteer at the city's women's centre. She was killed in a boarding house in the city at age 51, according to the project's website.
Marguerite's Place is a joint effort of the St. John's Status of Women Council and the St. John's Women's Centre. The plan is to make a new home for both groups as well as a housing support centre with the future addition of on site supportive housing units.
"I think Marguerite's Place is a wonderful cause and I am always happy to help them out," Simms said. "This will be my second fundraiser working with the St. John's Women's Centre for Marguerite's Place."
There is no fixed amount to be donated from "Get Baked!" to Margurite's Place.
"It is at the discretion of each artist how much they wish to donate," Simms said. "It's hard to make a living as an artist. I didn't want the people involved to put their time and money into this venture and walk away in the red so I figured this was the best way to benefit both parties."
Whatever the amount, the Marguerite's Place project will receive a donation courtesy of the cupcake muse.
Participating artist Tara Bradbury, has multiple projects in the processor for "Get Baked!"
Bradbury's past work includes a line of eco-friendly children's products that has sold at outlets like Ginger Snaps in downtown St. John's.
"I have a blog. I make things. I make toys and like little kids' stuff," Bradbury said. (The blog is called "Mushy Peas," see link below).
But, "I had never done anything cupcakes before," she said.
Among Bradbury's offerings for "Get Baked!" are photography-based recipes (where you might see images of a teaspoon of sugar, for example, instead of reading the ingredient in a list).
"I'm not finished yet," she said. "I'm making cupcakes from recycled sweaters."
Finally, Bradbury is working on what she referred to as "a pretty sizable embroidery piece."
"To have that finished, it's going to take maybe 100, 150 hours of work," Bradbury said. She said it was a big task, but it is a craft she often spends free time working at anyway.
"At least now it's for a good cause," she said.
"I ... am working on some wall art as well as knitted pieces," Simms said, adding a list of all of the items for the show has not yet been compiled.
However, she said, visitors can expect to see a wide variety of mixed media art including collage pieces, stained glass, felt work, clothing, crochet and knitted cupcakes and home decor.
Some actual edible cupcakes will be offered at a cupcake buffet at an opening day reception for the show, "courtesy of several local bakers in the city," said Simms.
"They are just such a simple delight. Cupcakes brighten your day! Those tender little morsels of moist cake crowned by a fluffy and delicious sugary topping. ... I can't get enough," Simms.
"Get Baked! Art for Your Sweet Tooth" runs Feb. 5 to Feb. 7 on the main level of the St. John's Arts and Culture Centre. The opening reception will be held Feb. 5 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com

Organizations: The Telegram, Women Council

Geographic location: St. John's

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