‘Tis the Season for sweets and treats, especially gingerbread cookies piled high with icing and loads of colorful sprinkles and candies. If you’ve got a family recipe you swear by, then perhaps you’re an “amateur expert” when it comes to assembling cookie couples and castles. However, trying to piece together simple gingerbread house scenes can feel mighty complicated for the rest of us!
But for an artist like Caroline Eriksson of Norway, gingerbread sculpting has gone next-level. Instead of adorable Christmas decorations, she uses gingerbread to sculpt veritable masterpieces, both naughty and nice. Check out some of her most ambitious works to date.
The Queen of Gingerbread Nightmares
Eriksson first started crafting artwork from gingerbread cookies in 2013. Since then, the artist has created a steady stream of ambitious works evocative of movie magic. Her cookie creations typically take five weeks to complete, although the projects keep expanding in scope. These represent a far cry from the traditional gingerbread houses she made as a child with her family. But even back then, Eriksson remembers wondering what she could really do with gingerbread. The results in adulthood have proven jaw-dropping.
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It all began with a massive Optimus Prime that she made based on the Transformers movie for a gingerbread competition in 2013. She watched the movie for ideas and soon developed a strategy for designing the Transformer using simple inner forms to create the foundational structure. Then, she added layers to these basic structures, building details and embellishing the work. After securing first place with her artwork, the Optimus Prime cookie went viral in magazines and online, marking the beginning of a sweet career.
Eriksson’s Gingerbread Renaissance
Eriksson starts by choosing a subject for her gingerbread artwork and designing a 1:1 sketch that she references throughout the process. She uses this sketch to develop a wire structure that acts as the foundational support for the sculpture. This wire structure also helps her judge the proportions of the piece. From there, she begins layering gingerbread pieces onto the frame, using strategically placed melted sugar to hold it all together. But if you assume Eriksson relies on store-bought gingerbread, think again.
She bakes all of her own pieces, ensuring the material has the right texture and stiffness for each cinematic project. This also allows her to cut pieces with exacting care. The confectioner estimates each gingerbread project requires about 15 pounds of flour and 11 packs of sugar to complete.
Art Transcends Gingerbread
Besides Optimus Prime, Eriksson has engineered other ambitious and inspiring pieces. These include elaborate subjects such as Smaug the Dragon from The Hobbit and the Xenomorph from Alien. She’s also garnered plenty of attention for her arresting depictions of Darth Vader from Stars Wars and her life-sized rendition of Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy.
Although she whips up these incredible pieces in a mixing bowl, the finished products contain painstaking details and compelling textures. Her rigorous dedication to the process has ensured a steadily growing audience of fans obsessed with her attention to every scale, piece of armor, or spike in the recreation of movie fan favorites. One thing’s for sure: you’ll never look at Yuletide cookies the same way after getting a gander at her frightening and highly detailed Sci-Fi-inspired creations.
TAKE YOUR OWN STEP OUT OF THE BOX!
Challenge yourself to get a little weird, try new things, and step out of your comfort zone with inspiration from Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Out of the Box, available now on Amazon and at most major retailers.
By Engrid Barnett, contributor for Ripleys.com