Innovation in decoration: an Ashland woman learns the art of gelatin | News


ASHLAND The swirls, curves and colors of flowers challenge the creative abilities of even experienced artists.

Imagine creating the intricacies of flowers from gelatin.

The unusual approach to the art of cakes is practiced by Lavenna Stambaugh of Ashland.

“The art of gelatin is made by injecting a colored base into clear gelatin, forming petals, leaves and other shapes,” she said. “You start by cooking the gelatin powder with water, just like you would with store-bought Jell-o. The trick is to use high quality gelatin which has high clarity, low odor and makes a firm jelly. Stambaugh, 44, said she ordered gelatin online because the more readily available materials aren’t firm enough for the job.

After creating a transparent gelatin base, Stambaugh uses a needle, syringe, and special accessories to create specific shapes to inject colored gelatin into the base to create petals and leaves.

But you have to work backwards, which Stambaugh says isn’t as difficult as it sounds.

“You start by forming the center and you go backwards,” she said. “I watched the videos and said, ‘OK, I got it. Just work in the reverse order. It’s kind of how I draw, I do the main part first and work from it.

She said it takes about 20 minutes to make a gelatin flower.

“It’s not something that you can just sit back and shut in a couple of minutes,” she said. “It’s tedious, but I like it.”

Stambaugh said she had always loved drawing and painting and that she was considering making gelatin art a new creative outlet. She said she learned about it via an online video.

“My husband said, ‘Sounds like something you’d like,’ and I said, ‘Oh, I’m going to learn how to do that. “

First, she tried an online course and fell in love with it.

“No one here is doing it and I thought it would be a good way to bring that to the region,” she said. The skill has been practiced in Asia for years, but not so much in the United States.

After several more videos online, Stambaugh tested his works by taking them to family vacation dinners.

She said she does at least one batch every week.

“I make a clear gelatin, then a cream based gelatin and create a flower inside,” she said. His creations can be alone or on a cake or a cheesecake.

“My favorite is to put it on the cheesecake. For me it’s the best, but I can also put it on a regular cake, like a white cake, ”she said.

Gelatin is flavored; in fact, Stambaugh said it adds an extra flavor. She said her favorite flavors are almond and plum, followed closely by cream of strawberry. Although they can be enjoyed on their own, topping them with cakes makes them a spectacular creation. She said her lemon thyme cake topped with blueberry lemonade gelatin was one of her favorites.

Learning the skill is the result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I had an accident and broke my leg,” said Stambaugh. “I was fired from my job and by the time I was done with physical therapy COVID hit. My daughter was 11 at the time and I didn’t want to leave her so I was here all day anyway and wanted to have something to do while my daughter was in school.

Stambaugh said she was getting more tools for her work, including molds for images that she might not feel comfortable doing hand-held.

“It’s one way to make a dessert beautiful and delicious,” she said.

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