Interview with Katherine Sabbath, Cake Decorator Extraordinaire

From a young age, I have always loved pop-up books. I mean what person does not like seeing the pages of a book come to life? I am intrigued by the art behind it and I even considered having pop-up wedding invites when I got married… but alas, they were too complicated for me to create myself (I don’t think I have the engineering brain for it) and super expensive to just create a handful. Unfortunately, there really are not many pop-up books for adults. I think the last one I bought was an architectural one about Gaudi five years ago.

So when Katherine Sabbath announced that she was going to be creating a pop-up cook book, I was super excited! How cool! I know she always does things in an amazing yet unique kind of way so I am sure this book will be no different. If you are not familiar with her creative style, just check it all out below.

The fact that she is funding this huge project through Kickstarter also touched a little soft spot for me. I funded my first 2 books through Kickstarter so I know firsthand what it is like. It’s an exciting gamble (because if the project is not successfully funded within a certain timeframe, you don’t get a cent) but also so amazingly rewarding to know that you have the support of a community behind your idea. So I thought I’d share with you an interview with Katherine herself where she talks about her creative process, inspiration and shares with us some projects from her upcoming pop-up cookbook.

Of course I have already supported the project because I really want to see it come to life and I hope you’d consider being a part of this journey too 🙂 You guys made it happen for my book, lets make it happen for Katherine’s!

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you go from high school teacher to cake decorator extraordinaire?

I’ve been enamoured with sweets and the creative possibilities of the dessert world since a very young age. As soon as I experienced the simple joy of creating something home-baked for a friend or a loved one and then seeing the excitement on their face when I gifted this to them, I was totally hooked! Baking is such a delicious, relaxing and very rewarding way to share in the world of food and creativity.

I’ve always relished in the role of teaching – it’s a job I have never taken for granted. That being said, after three years of sharing my bakes on social media (Instagram, primarily), I realised there was a huge community of creatives and home bakers out there who enjoy my sweet hobby as much as I do! I still thank my lucky stars everyday.

You have a very distinct style when it comes to cakes as well as fashion. What inspires you?

For me, inspiration comes from absolutely everywhere! I love our natural environment and not to mention, I also love bold colours and flavours. To rein in it a little bit, a favourite source of inspiration close to my heart is the 1971 film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory originally written by Roald Dahl and directed by Mel Stuart. I remember seeing that movie as a wee kid and just being completely blown away by the fun and wacky possibilities of dessert! I also really love the gooey, slimy ‘dripping’ motif on the cover of “Goosebumps” novels!

In true Katherine Sabbath style, the book you are planning on creating is such a unique style for a cookbook. What made you decide to create a book like that?

Oh shucks, thank you! Paper engineering is such an astounding and beautiful craft but the art of pop-up books traditionally has been very simple. As soon as I came across the work of paper engineer, Benja Harney (Paperform), 5 years ago, I knew I had to be a part of his world. A pop-up cookbook filled with exceptional paper engineering and vibrant cakes was a vision too good to forget!

Can you give us an idea of the process behind creating such a massive project and what it is like working with a group of such talented creatives? (How did the book come together and what role does everyone play?)

Our team of talented cool cats includes:
Tracy Lines: Creative Director, Publishing Consultant & Producer
Benja Harney AKA Paperform: Artist & master of paper engineering
Nikki To: Renowned food photographer & my best friend
Alicia Sciberras: Stylist & my hometown friend
Jeremy Shaw: Videographer & my legend-of-a-mate

And me! The author, recipe developer & teacher.

I feel extremely privileged to be working on this one-of-a-kind publication with such an incredible team of local creatives. I’m also very lucky that each person in this team is highly skilled and able to work on our vision of the pop-up cookbook independently. Everyone is super motivated, so fortunately for me, the process has been quite smooth so far!

Why did you decide to launch and fund the book through Kickstarter?

I share my passion by teaching workshops, hosting cake demonstrations and sharing my recipes, ideas and tips online. Making a book of my own and sharing the process of it with others seemed like a natural progression. Crowdfunding felt like a perfect fit in this process, where people in our lovely cake community are able to be part of this journey. I’m so proud to know that as a team, we’re bringing something fantastic to life, from start to finish.

Have you had any unexpected challenges with the book so far?

Most definitely! The whole project has been a first for me and a HUGE learning curve! I’ve found that aspect really interesting though and have enjoyed learning about the ins and outs of self-publishing as well as crowdfunding. The biggest challenge for me has been managing my time and trying to stop myself from burning out! I’ve been so mentally and physically exhausted over the last 6 months and have had a few health scares but I’m slowly learning to work smarter, not harder.

Do you have a favourite project from the book or any sneak peeks you can share with us?

Hehe, the upside down ice cream cone cake will always be a favourite. Just wait until you see it in 3D!

Here’s a shot of one of the first pop-up prototypes by Benja Harney of Paperform! We’re so excited with how it looks so far and I can’t wait to show you the finished product. This is just the beginning of what this man can engineer using paper!

Be a part of this project and get your own copy by backing it through Kickstarter.

I’m lucky enough to know Katherine Sabbath and as an industry I think we are lucky to have a creative mind like hers. I personally feel a lot of the trends we are seeing now have been inspired by her style. She is extremely relatable on all levels (a big cheerleader for the home bakers), is unique in the things she creates and is just a wonderful person all-round. On a personal note, I have never met anyone quite as stylish as her 😉 

If you’d like to know more details or to back her Kickstarter project, head to her Kickstarter page – Katherine Sabbath – Greatest Hits: A Pop-Up Cake Cookbook. The project finishes on the 18th of December 2017 so don’t wait!

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