“They look so realistic! Are those really made out of sugar?” These words are heard day in and day out from our clients when they visit our studio+bakery and see our sugar flowers in person. Fingers gently touch the petals on our creations as if the mind needs to convince the eye that in fact they are intricate clever copies of natural blooms. But how realistic are Ron Ben-Israel Cakes’ sugar flowers? We turned to two experts, Emily Pinon from Bastille Flowers and Events, and the Sweet Genius himself, Ron Ben-Israel, to find out.
Our journey began in the wee morning hours at the flower market in New York City. Emily and Ron, with coffee in hand, trolled through the shops to find the perfect blooms for the challenge.
Dutch Flower Line is a treasure chest of overwhelmingly gorgeous florals and foliage with colors that stimulate the senses and creative juices. While the peonies mostly stole the show with their pillow-like petals just beginning to gently unfold, the vast array of nature’s Spring bounty reminded one of the moment Dorothy steps into Oz for the first time and sees the world in the color.
Perhaps Ron’s coffee was decaf instead of regular?
Back in the studio+bakery, Ron and Emily get to work to begin creating the arrangements with their finds from the flower market.
A traditional rose bowl was first on the docket with Emily walking Ron through the best techniques to ensure a properly balanced arrangement. Translucent florist tape was affixed to the top of the crystal bowl in a grid pattern allowing for perfect placement of each stem. Cold water, almost filled to the brim will ensure a longer life for your arrangement.
Emily also recommends using scissors or shears that are sharp enough to make a clean cut on the stem before placing them into your vessel to allow the flowers to continue drinking in the water. Always trim the ends of the flowers before creating your arrangement to remove any impediments that might have accumulated on the bottom of the stem.
If your blooms aren’t fully open, you can gently help them in the process by peeling the outer petals back with a feather touch and working your way inward.
With the rose bowl complete, our secret sugar flower roses are added to round out the first challenge arrangement.
And a challenge wouldn’t be a challenge without both sides getting a chance to show their expertise! Ron next took Emily through the steps to create her very own sugar peony. For a florist who is able to create beautiful arrangements with fully-realized florals to now have to break down a bloom into its individual parts could be a bit daunting, but Emily met the challenge head-on.
Ron explained each element of creating a sugar peony beginning with the center and prepping it for the addition of the sugar petals. Layering each petal so they overlap in just the right way requires a steady practiced hand along with an understanding that there is beauty to be found in imperfection just like in nature.
Once the petals have been layered and tweaked, adding pigmented color will make the sugar petals come to life. As in all things visual, depth and texture can fool the eye and Ron shows Emily just the right amount of color to gently brush on to each bloom to make it a real showstopper.
After the pigments have been added, the finishing touch of steam will set the color and gently breathe life into the sugar flower. Ron advises Emily to be careful how much steam she allows to touch the petals as these sugar blooms will melt with too much moisture!
With the finished products ready to be hidden in the arrangements, Ron and Emily take a moment to reflect on a wonderful collaboration where two similar worlds of craftsmanship and artistry can benefit from shared inspiration.
So you think you have the eye to see the faux from the real?
Visit our Instagram page today starting at 2 pm EST to view the 5 different arrangements Emily and Ron created for our sugar flower challenge. Post your guess in the comment section and you might be mentioned as a sugar flower expert on Saturday when we post the solutions! Best of luck!