I'm getting ready to melt down my Valentine's Mardi Gras sculpture - Voodoo Love:
And now I move on to a sculpture for a competition this weekend in Albuquerque. My biggest fear/problem is that the competition is 5 hours away and we'll need to transport the sculpture. I'll take it in pieces and assemble on site, but still that's a lot of rough roads and potential warm weather to wreak havoc.
The competition is part of a fundraiser for the New Mexico Natural History Museum and the theme is Venetian Ball. The title of our sculpture is "Venice Crumbling," because I'm fascinated by how the city is eroding into the canals. We have a very tight production schedule for the week related to the competition:
One key strategy I learned at the World Pastry Forum showpiece workshop is to make way more pieces than you think you'll actually use. There will be inevitable breakage and need to hide flaws, so make plenty of flowers and other items for that purpose. We're working on mums and sugar gems for our bling.
Yesterday we poured our primary vertical base. Start by drawing the design on butcher paper taking into account structural strength, overall weight, quantity of chocolate. Our base won't be seen so it is purely structural.
You'll notice that I took out negative space in spots where I believe there is adequate structural support and where I thought I could save some weight and chocolate.
Then we poured. This is where our troubles have started. We don't have a tempering machine so we have to do it by hand. That's not a problem with a pound or two at a time but we're doing about 15 pounds per pour and so our temper is not very good. I'm not concerned about the look since it will be covered but I am concerned about internal fracturing due to improper temper.
That was allowed to set up overnight and this morning I removed the frames and cleaned the edges. Sure enough - due to the poor temper I had a crack which I fixed but it raises a lot of concerns about the overall durability of the internal framing.
Farina Alto – Albuquerque, New Mexico
3 days ago