Coming to Cake International at the NEC, Birmingham in November, The Magical Dragon Machine was originally the brain child of The Cake Illusionist, Hannah Edwards. Late in 2016, Hannah had an idea – an idea that quite honestly seemed completely crazy – a giant mechanical dragon to enthral visitors to one of the largest cake shows in the world. Inspired by the mystical, the mythical and the downright weird, the idea evolved and grew and soon Hannah was reaching out to other cake artists, like myself, who soon fell under its wondrous spell. I have been wanting to tell people more about the project for so long, but really it should be Hannah that spills the beans. So after much begging and pleading, Hannah has agreed to pen a guest post here to let you all in on the secret of The Magical Dragon Machine…
The Magical Dragon Machine was imagined with community at its heart and cake art as its soul. It will be a four-dimensional experience, created in delicious cake and sweet edibles and we might have thrown in a little flare and a few tricks with the aim of bringing together something truly magical.
Our scrapyard dragon will stand over seven feet above you and stretches over 17 feet long, from riveted nose to scrap-metal tail. Built around a secret internal structure containing all sorts of wonderful surprises, the dragon will also be filled with around eight hundred servings of delicious cake, donated by the brilliant Sweet Success.
Towering above his scrapyard home, the dragon will be surrounded by a huge array of mystical clockwork creatures rising up out of the scrap itself and all of this wonder is being worked on by a cast of fantastical sugar characters, including our tinker children and the mad inventor.
Scale and logic are irrelevant when imaginations run wild, so look out for oversized bugs, sea creatures on land, all manner of nuts and bolts floristry and why not see if you can spot the tinker tasked with spray painting the dragon. And don’t forget, all of this will be crafted in sugar and other edible decorations. You’ll see some of the finest sculpting, the most intricate floral work, amazingly detailed modelling and all the other sugar specialisms that the cake world has to offer.
To bring our magical friends to life, we have been so incredibly fortunate to receive help from a whole host of wonderful individuals and organisations and must offer our sincere thanks to Renshaw Baking, Rainbow Dust, Dummies Direct (who crafted our head, feet and tail), Sweet Success, Mr. Blister and Caterline, The Old Piping Bag, dragéekíss™, Cake Dutchess, Platinum Paste, The Black Horse Pub, Atherstone and, of course, Cake International. We couldn’t have done this without them – or the 60 artists all pulling together to make this happen.
In addition to creating a stunning sugar experience, this project has a few more core aims. One being that it truly is a community-based project, where different artists at varying stages of their journey all take part as equals. We wanted to give everyone the opportunity and platform to shine. Secondly it was of paramount importance to us all to ensure there was considerable amounts of real cake involved – what can we say, we’re cake purists – and thanks to Sweet Success, our dragon is chock full of it. Sure, this brings with it extra challenges most definitely: it shortens the amount of time we have to build the dragon and means we have to ensure that food safety is front and centre of everything we do. It also creates considerable weight issues! But these are challenges we are more than happy to face to ensure we can stay true to the art of cake.
Finally, mindful of the problems with excess and waste in westernised countries, particularly while others struggle to get by, we wanted to ensure that a worthwhile home was found for the considerable amounts of real food that are enabling us to play our arty games. We were so fortunate to be able to find our sponsors, Mr. Blister and Caterline, who have donated enough sealed plastic containers and forks for every single serving of dragon cake. These will be donated to Coffee4Craig, a charity for the homeless, who run mobile kitchens three times a week and will be able to distribute the cake to those that need it most.
We’ve been working on this project for almost a year now and it’s truly humbling to see the amount of effort, love, blind faith and dedication people are putting into this. From the artists themselves, to their families and to our sponsors, who continue to surprise us with their generosity.
I’m so proud of what we are doing. All of it. But don’t just take my word for it – come and see for yourself!
The Magical Dragon Machine and the Mystical Scrapyard will be at Cake International, at the NEC Birmingham from 3-5 November 2017. Come and let your imagination run wild and see the story unfold in front of your eyes.
I look forward to seeing you there…
Hannah – The Cake Illusionist
Tickets for Cake International, Birmingham are available in advance (with an early bird discount) from the Cake International Website or you can buy on arrival at the NEC.
And why not visit The Magical Dragon Machine Facebook Page?