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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Cakes for Japan: tips for fundraising from Miss Cakehead

Last Friday the inaugural Cakes for Japan bake sale to raise funds for the Japanese Red Cross took place at Maiden on Shoreditch High Street. Here's how it went, and advice on how to run your own fundraiser.

Written by Amelia Gregory


Lobster woman by Mina Bach

Reading the brochure only served to confuse me further ahead of my visit to Jerwood Space. The descriptively-named ‘Show’ seeks to examine “the integral role that performance plays within an artist’s practice and its subsequent representation in an exhibition context” … Okay, advice so it makes a little more sense now after I’ve seen it, side effects but only a little. It’s performance art, salve people – enter at your peril, but it will be like nothing you’ve seen before.

Watching Edwina Ashton dressed up as a lobster, slowly moving about the studio moving things, was something akin to a surreal experience. It was hard to know what to think as Ashton, whose lobster head was secured with a pair of pink fishnets, positioned egg cartons in a wood frame. What’s she doing? What’s going on? Is it supposed to be funny? Are we being filmed as part of a scientific experiment? In the days since the performance I am still nowhere closer to figuring it out.



Edwina Ashton

Edwina Ashton, whose performance is called ‘Peaceful serious creatures (lobster arranging)’, is interested in how matter becomes things, the leaflet says. It also quotes Gerard de Nerval, who used to talk his pet lobster Thibault for walks on the streets of Paris. Presenting the case for lobsters, he said: ‘I have a liking for lobsters. They are peaceful, serious creatures. They know the secrets of the sea, they don’t bark, and they don’t gnaw upon one’s monadic privacy like dogs do.’


Lobster by Caz Lock

‘Show’ also featured two other artists – one being Jack Strange in ‘Zip and zing’. This was two legs poking through holes in the wall, which I discovered by almost tripping over one of them in the crowded gallery. I’d worn my warm but scruffy cardigan for the cycle to Jerwood Space and was planning to put it in my bag for the gallery, but there was no need for that; it seems frayed knits are big with the performance art crowd. The same seems true for bold spectacles and beards, stationery necklaces and growing-out neon hair.


Crowd at Jerwood / Jack Strange

The final performance, Bedwyr Williams’ ‘Urbane Hick’, was a hit with the crowd, as the artist poked fun at his genre. ‘Performance art isn’t an earner,’ he pointed out, following up with statements such as: ‘Is there anything more self-righteous than a Londoner in a park,’ drawing laughter from the crowd. After all we were inclined to like him after he told us what he did to the last person who disapproved: he dipped a discarded Chupa-Chups into their drink. And no one wants that.

‘Show’ runs at Jerwood Space on the South Bank: 171 Union Street, London SE1 0LN, until 21st April. Free entry but booking is required. For more information see our listing.


Illustration by Natasha Thompson

This write has taken far, help far longer than it actually should have, ed which is no reflection on the beautiful collection I saw relatively on Wednesday morning several weeks ago. It’s completely down to inertia and mental blocks; utterly rubbish, viagra 60mg but there you go. So whilst the womenswear editors and buyers had jetted off to Milan it was left to the rest of us and a Mr Hamish Bowles to enjoy the delights of J.W. Anderson‘s show. It is worth noting that by now the glamour of most fashion shows had dulled a little and I was fast developing the urge to move rows forward to the front. I was no longer just grateful to attend but damn it do they not know who I am? Obviously they did, or rather they knew who I wasn’t and quite rightly plonked me in the fourth row. I quickly moved forward. Shame and modesty is wasted at these shows.  


Illustration by Aniela Murphy

As the lights dimmed the sound of an arctic gale blew through the show space, as if we weren’t chilly enough, before giving way to Nordic house. It was a great soundtrack and set the tone for a multi layered collection that showcased great talent and eye across both formal and casual wear. The palette was primarily navy and charcoal brilliantly punctuated with paisley prints, whites, and olive greens.  


All photography by Matt Bramford

The fact I struggle to define which element of the collection was strongest tells of its strength. In a large collection it is often easy to pick and choose what you like, with only 28 looks each one needs to stand on its own but also within the line up. J.W. Anderson has definitely achieved this with this collection; be it the new and exciting knitwear, the floor length kilts, panelled overcoats or hooded tailoring.  


Illustration by Gabriel Ayala

The knitwear was fresh, jumpers with missing front panels,  Scandinavian-inspired detailing or webbed bands to hold in place. No longer just tied loosely round the waist the bands held the jumper tight in around the knee. Cardigans in a fine gauge knit or latex were layered over each other adding another exciting element.  

A strong trend at fashion week this year has been panelled trenchcoats, both amongst the fashion elite and on the runway, and this was picked up on the Anderson catwalk. Anderson took it a step further creating fantastic midnight blue standalone jackets with printed quilted hoods.  


Illustration by Natasha Thompson

Overall London menswear day is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with. No longer a nominal notion tacked on the end but championing both established and upcoming designers. It’s a shame it still clashes with Milan and as such most of the press have left already. But with British and Irish menswear being championed by the likes of Anderson we have much to look forward to.

See more from Aniela Murphy and Natasha Thompson in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration!

Cakes for Japan - Photography by Amelia Gregory
Cakes for Japan by Suzzle. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

If you think the weather has been bitterly cold and windy then spare a thought for the beleaguered Japanese… currently struggling to rebuild huge swathes of their nation after the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit just over a week ago.

Cakes for Japan - Photography by Amelia Gregory
I particularly loved these edible Japanese Kokeshi Dolls made out of coconut, this site white chocolate, buy information pills cranberries and condensed milk by Guerilla Cake Art.

Rather than complain at the futility of our ability to help, a plethora of inspiring grassroots fundraising initiatives have sprung up in record time. Many artists and illustrators have quickly put together projects to raise funds, and last week Miss Cakehead hosted the first Cakes for Japan at Maiden on Shoreditch High Street. Before the sale had even kicked off a whole host of copycat sales had sprung up around the country and even as far afield as Germany. I popped into the sale just as it opened and came away with a box of wonderful cakes: it was heartwarming to see not only the amazing creativity and generosity of the bakers but also the willingness with which people donated way above what was asked. I decided to catch up with the brains behind the idea, Emma Thomas, aka Miss Cakehead.

Cakes for Japan - Photography by Amelia Gregory
Vegan cupcakes from Ms Cupcake.

First creative cake project.
I work with Lily Vanilli quite a fair bit, and she has introduced me to lots of great cake makers, but we are now at the stage where people contact us too, which is awesome. Our first event was an edible art exhibition called Cake Britain, and then we put on Eat Your Heart Out. I think it helps that I can’t bake as I am not limited by possibilities of what can and cannot be done.

Cakes for Japan - Photography by Amelia Gregory

Cakes for Japan success.
Cakes for Japan was a unique viral idea which brought together a community of both hobby and pro bakers to make great cakes to raise money for the Japanese Red Cross, and we raised over £2000 in under 3 hours. Lots of upcoming events have been inspired by ours, which is amazing to see. The best part was seeing the kindness often missing from London life: everyone worked together and people queued in the rain to buy cakes. People bought one cake for £3 and told us to keep the change from £10, which was very moving.

Cakes for Japan
Beautiful hand painted biscuits on sticks from Nevie-Pie Cakes.

Making cakes special.
As a creative I have to deliver new concepts that will go viral so I am used to working this way on my own projects. I instantly realised that whilst a run-of-the-mill cake sale would work it would not have the viral element needed to capture people’s imagination. To be successful we needed to offer people something unique and different that would work even if we removed the fund-raising context. We hoped that Japanese people would appreciate Japan themed cakes – and they did. Our estimated reach was about 1 million people in just 5 days.

Cakes for Japan - Photography by Amelia Gregory

Time to bake.
I loved the fact that so many beautiful cakes were produced by both hobby & amateur bakers. It made me think that it is about time that I learnt how to bake too.

Cakes for Japan - Photography by Amelia Gregory
Gastrogeek baked & salted caramel cheesecake.

Cakes for Japan inspiration.
It was very inspiring to see people’s kindness and trust in strangers – even though most of us had never met we became a very close knit group, working together with one aim. The hardest bit was my nerves – first I worried that we would not have enough cake, and then I worried that no one would come and eat it. It was a very intensive 5 days run up, working 20 hours a day.

Cakes for Japan - Photography by Amelia Gregory
Green tea cookies.

Next cakey plans.
I want to do something with macaroons this year: I bought some for a friend at Christmas and it totally got me back into them. We are also putting on an Edible Autopsy, which will be a global first and pretty hardcore. We wanted to do an event which children could also enjoy whilst also raising money for charity… it will be a public cake autopsy conducted by a trained pathologist. The autopsy will educate people about the human anatomy whilst, once cut out, the cake will be handed around the audience for them to eat as the process continues. As with any autopsy, there will be blood, guts and gore – but in this instance it will taste delicious. For those who can stomach the experience this event promises to be the most unique eating experience they’ll ever experience.

Cakes for Japan - Photography by Amelia Gregory
Black sesame macaroons by Charmaine Mok.

Advice for those inspired by Cakes for Japan.
If you can find a free location then you can make it happen. The people who helped make Cakes for Japan possible were strangers this time last week. I am making myself available to anyone who wants my help.

Cakes for Japan - Photography by Amelia Gregory

So, what are you waiting for? Go forth and bake… you can learn how to make sushi cupcakes right here.

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