Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Andie, and the handsome specimen of a man is my husband, Jason (my partner in sweets). Together, Jason and I form the small design team, Andie’s Specialty Sweets. We cater to the sugar art arena and mainly make cake embellishments and decorative candy. Our goal is to produce beautifully crafted and delicious edibles to inspire and assist in our customer’s creative ventures. Much of the vision of our pursuit is to offer sugar design that allows our customers the flexibility to focus on other aspects of the confectionery presentation as a whole, which can be a task in and of itself. We are developing some unique recipes and techniques and feel we are just at the start of a world of possibilities. One of these possibilities is a new and exciting line of decorative candy, currently being developed, that we hope to debut at the beginning of the year.
Our family consists of three lads and one lass. We also include a strapping 15-year-old in our clan whom I gave to wonderful adoptive parents seven years prior to meeting Jason. We currently make our abode in the Los Angeles area, but are on the precipice of expanding our business and have chosen the state of Washington for our future home. The idea of getting our fingers in the soil, shoveling snow, making our own dairy products, raising chickens, and having an apple and cherry orchard (and maybe plums) is completely thrilling to us. We’re also looking forward to finding our own energy source/getting off the grid.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
At this point in our lives, we have a lot of people depending on us. We spend the majority of our day creating for our customers. The rest of our time is spent on the other dependent individuals in our lives — the four kids mentioned prior, who are all under eight years old. Needless to say, we devote full days to piecing together superhero costumes and sitting down for a few minutes in our four-year-old child’s hair salon.
What would be the title of your memoir? Why?
I don’t think I’d ever be inclined to write about myself, but hypothetically, I suppose the title would be A Vacation From My Mind. Jason thought of another (less flattering) title for my memoir — Is It Just Me, Or Am I Crazy?
Where does your inspiration come from?
Whatever is around me. I’m constantly looking for things that can be transformed into some appetizing surprise — it’s just so exciting!
What does handmade mean to you?
Handmade represents less of what I don’t want — quickly produced, overpriced items meant to have a short life span and usually produced under unfavorable working conditions — and more of what I do want: items made with superior quality and class, the kind intended to be passed down and branded by the individual’s attention to detail, personality and creativity.
Who has been most influential in your craft?
I’ve been blessed to learn from a handful of gifted instructors. My parents let my brothers and I try out any idea we had. In my young adult years, most of my learning was through private and hands-on instruction, reading tons of books, and turning out experiments of every sort. The non-traditional, non-university path was partly to assist my unbalanced affection for snowboarding. Thankfully, it worked out in my favor.
When did you know you were an artist/maker?
Probably when I was about five. I was happy sitting at the kitchen table with my paper and pencils for hours on end. I do remember my mom getting excited over a picture I drew that contained elements of perspective, with detail and scale diminishing in the background. Today, we see our sons doing the same thing without any formal instruction in perspective.
How would you describe your creative process?
My creative process starts with a brain that I have only recently learned to turn off that is reeling with ideas and methods; my process usually ends with a bunch of sticky notes stuck all over our wall. The sticky notes get moved around until I see a break in the schedule and find enough time to whittle my idea to reality.
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
Oh, we wouldn’t mind being flies on the wall of an Irish countryside while Vladimir Longauer worked his magic. I don’t know if authors count, but we also enjoy the worlds and imagery Roald Dahl has crafted in his books. Besides discussing a strategy to creaming and sugaring a chocolate river without Oompa Loompas, we’d also enjoy picking his brain about his concealed identity as a Secret Service Agent. Finally, we’d love to take a look over Terry Gilliam’s shoulder as he wielded some fantastic animated fusion of his own art.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
We have some real treasures. We come from a heritage of artists and makers, with quilts dating back to the Depression Era (made out of men’s dress shirts), to amazing hand-carved ducks and decoys, to hand-thrown pottery, paintings and needlework. But out of all these possessions, nothing causes more pain then when a drawing from one of my kids gets passed off to a relative or neighbor and it just doesn’t appear that they are appreciating it as much as mom would.
Where would you like to be in ten years?
Ah…we love surprises! We’re always looking back in amazement as one surprising chapter after another unfolds. We have some exciting goals for meeting an increase in demand and we are developing new processes and systems for a more efficient handmade service, but we’re happy to trust God with all these details. Drop us an email in ten years.