How to Use Cookie Inspiration From Others

When I first delved into cookie decorating, there were very few online resources for inspiration and learning.  Then, in just a few short years a couple of shops, blogs, and a small Flickr community morphed into a large and ever growing group of talented artisans and suppliers.

Now, the Internet is filled with projects, ideas, and inspiration…a wonderful thing.  Not only are we creating and sharing our own work, we’re also encouraging others to take our visions and make them their own.

In the beginning, I had a hard time making anything without the help of Flickr photos photos from people like The Cookie Artisan.  Then, as my skills and confidence grew, so did the list of ideas and techniques I wanted to try.

With so many resources, it’s often difficult to come up with something that hasn’t been done. Sometimes, I come up with a new and original idea, but more often than not I am inspired in some way by the work of other artisans.

My holiday cookie wreath is the perfect example.

Christmas Cookie WreathI didn’t invent holiday cookie wreaths, but by following these simple steps I made a version that is completely my own.

  1. Choose your inspiration:  My original inspiration were wreaths by The Cookie Artisan and Julia Usher, which you can see here and here.
  2. Determine your favorite elements:  The key element of a cookie wreath was the shape, of course, {originally inspired by Maryann} but I also loved how Julia’s version incorporated a pattern.  These were the primary elements of my design.
  3. If making an exact copy of something, ask:  I could write an entire blog post on this statement alone {I talked about it in depth here}, so I’ll try to keep this short.  In the interest of peace and harmony, I ask and give credit if I even spin an idea that didn’t come from my own brain.  However, with a huge influx of new decorators, it’s often impossible to keep up with what’s been done, and by whom.  So, my general policy is to share, link, always treat others the way I would like to be treated, even when they don’t do the same.
  4. Add something:  In the beginning, my capabilities were limited to replicating things I’d seen.  After mastering the basic skills and techniques, the most challenging and rewarding part of the process is adding special touches to make something my own.  In this instance I used stencils to pattern the leaves, incorporated tiny berry cookies, used the chip and dip bowl that I got as a wedding gift {for the first time ever} to keep things neat, and finished with a butterfly bow, courtesy of Ali-Bee’s Bake Shop.  Still a wreath, but a unique version made by me.
  5. Share and give credit: Show people what you’ve made, and let others know that they’ve inspired you with shout outs and links.  Its amazing how a little goodwill can grow.
  6. Inspire more great ideas:  This is my absolute favorite part.  I love seeing what other people do with things I’ve made.  What’s even more interesting is that I am often re-inspired by a play on something I’d previously posted.  It’s amazing, really, how we’re all pieces of one big puzzle, each contributing ideas that make us all the best we can be.

Cookie WreathIf you’re not quite ready to venture into your own designs, rest assured the tutorials on my blog are written for others to use. Credit is always nice, but not expected.

For more great insight on how to use a cookie tutorial, check out this post by Lizy B Bakes.   My first and most important mission is to share what I’ve learned and teach others the art of cookie decorating  and I hope 2014 is a year of peace, learning, and prosperity for us all.  Thank you all for inspiring me!

For more amazing cookie wreaths {and cookie decorators}, check out these posts:

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Comments

  1. 1
    Sue says:

    It makes me feel better knowing that you, at one time, “copied” other people! That is all I do and found myself wondering this Christmas season if I would ever come up with my own design. The jury is still out on that one but even if I never do create something in my own head I will know that the greats before me “copied” as well. Thanks for your unending creativity.

  2. 2
    Kristin says:

    Amazing! Such beautiful works of art.

  3. 3
    Claire says:

    Your words are SO true and want to THANK YOU for my hobby which is growing and growing, I am about to start doing more designs of my own but again THANK YOU for allowing me to use your site to start something that I am addicted to, your wonderful ideas that yes I do try to do the designs but try to add my own spin, you are ONE AMAZING cookie designer, have to say that and decorator but your colors, ideas etc are just breathtaking. I find cookie decorating to be very relaxing, I am fussy and things are to be perfect but know they can’t always, that is why I have the children to eat my mistakes!!!! Plus I always make extra for those little hands that like to eat them. Once again thank you for allowing me and others to try your designs. Claire x:))x

  4. 4
    Laura says:

    I always love & admire your work Callye! Thanks for all of your tutorials! Would you possibly be interested in doing a tutorial for us on stenciling & where you purchase the stencils? Thanks! Happy New Year!!

  5. 5
    Michelle says:

    Thank you. I do not have an original idea in my head. I love your work. There are so many talented cookie artist. Hopefully some day I can create a style of my own. For now I love soaking in all I can to learn

  6. 6
    Hillary says:

    GREAT post!!!!!!!!! So true! And beautiful cookies as always!

  7. 7
    Beth C says:

    Thanks so much for this post! I am just beginning to decorate cookies and it is fast becoming an obsession/addiction however, I feel like all I do is copy other people’s work…now I know that one day I will be able to spread my wings and come up with some ideas of my own! Your blog is so encouraging and inspiring. Thanks!

    • 7.1
      Laynie says:

      It’s not always bad to copy, especially when you’re learning. The main thing to remember is to let people know where the original ideas came from.

      As you learn and grow, you’ll become more comfortable with techniques and styles, and you’ll find your own style developing. I think pretty much everyone follows that path. Just be kind, give credit where it’s due, and enjoy yourself.

  8. 8

    Beautifully said! Thanks for being an inspiration and for helping others (me included!) how to be a good member of the greater cookie community :) You rock!

  9. 9

    Very good post Callye. This is funny, I was talking about this with a student today, when she said to me that she was seeking her style because she feels that all was already done. I told her not all, she just has to be confident, find inspiration in others, and still come up with creative things, just like you said. Recently I got inspired by many cookie artists including you in a Christmas Tree cookie protect, it feels great developing different things with inspiration of our cookie friends. Happy New Year, I know next year will be great for you as always, specially with the arrival of your new Belle!!

  10. 10
    Laynie says:

    This is all so true, not just for cookies but for life in general as far as I’m concerned. I find inspiration in many, many places, and I love to share this inspiration with others. For example, I really don’t bake anymore, although I’ve had a love for making cookies for as long as I can remember.

    However, I read your blog (and many others) because I find it visually nourishing. I love the colors, the shapes, the way you look at things and use them in creative ways. As a result, i take this back with me into everything creative I do.

    The fun comes when I blog… I sometimes share pictures from my sketchbook in my blog, and I even cite sources there. Sometimes it’s because I want to go back and find a book/magazine article/website again, sometimes I want to do more research, and sometimes I just want other people to be able to do the same if they’re interested.

    It all comes together in this big melting pot of a brain of mine. There’s room for everyone, and the more love you share the more love there seems to be. :D

    Happy new year!

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