Gary Chapman has worked in book publishing for most of his professional life. However, he first developed an interest in sugarcraft in the early 1990s when he joined Merehurst Publishing Company as Marketing Director. Merehurst at the time, had built up a worldwide reputation as the leading publisher of cake decorating books. Gary helped launched the company in the USA at the ICES Shows and raised the profile of many leading decorators including Nicholas Lodge, Elaine MacGregor, Cynthia Venn and many others. He also brought new techniques and ideas to the fore including Sarah Gleaves stenciling concepts.
When he was young he was very artistic and found he rather enjoyed modelling in clay and painting and drawing. Sugarcraft offered him a new artistic expression.
Invigorated by this exciting edible art medium he set up Iced Delights in the early 1990s, invented the new technique of fabric effects in sugar, published his own book Fabric Effects in Sugar and gave demonstrations and classes all over the UK and the USA. He also pioneered the use of home decorating painting techniques for cake decorating such as ragging, sponging and stippling.
At first his unique style did not go down too well. Cakes were dainty, with pastel colour schemes and botanically correct miniature flowers. Gary was brash, bold and wanted to do something new and different and make a mark. Needless to say, over the years his creative innovations such as his use of colour, recreating fabric out of sugar, painting techniques and fantasy flowers have influenced many people and his ideas have become part of mainstream cake decorating skills.
His passion for the Jazz Age of the 1920s has given him a unique source of inspiration. He has an extensive collection of costume designs and illustrations from the period that offer valuable ideas and colour schemes. He has also been continually inspired by modern couture and millinery. He also found further inspiration from books that taught the art of ribbon flower making, ironically enough, a trend which reached a peak in the 1920s.
Later, he launched and was Editor for the first ever mass-market cake decorating magazine. He also produced Iced and Easy, a cake book for the big UK newsagent chain of W.H. Smith, and provided display pieces for exhibitions of edible art called ‘A Taste of Art’.
After another period in publishing he reformed Iced Delights in 1999 and became one of the top 10 wedding cake makers in London. More recently, he left London for a quieter life in Stroud and the Cotswolds and is fortunate in being able to follow his various passions : publishing, writing, the Jazz Age and cake decorating.
He was one of the judges for Knightsbridge-PME’s the live competitions at the cake shows at the NEC, Birmingham and Excel, London for several years. He intends to focus more on teaching and publishing new cake books and books about the 1920s.
His website dedicated to the Jazz Age is at http://www.jazzageclub.com, his new publishing venture Edditt Publishing is at http://www.eddittpublishing.com. He also has Facebook pages for Gary Chapman Cakes and the Jazz Age Club.
Gary is available to teach classes and to give demonstrations worldwide. Although his passion is fabric effects he can turn his hand to most things.