Cressida Bell is an extraordinary artist for several reasons. A fabulously talented surface designer, she designs, paints and screen prints, producing a wide range of objects for the home, stationery, and accessories for men and women. AND she is also an utterly incredible cake decorator. Seriously, how amazing are those cakes?
Cressida is the daughter of potter and art critic Quentin Bell, and is the granddaughter of Vanessa Bell, who, along with Duncan Grant, founded the legendary Bloomsbury Group at the historic house Charleston, in Sussex, England. Firstly studying fashion, and then textiles, she set up her studio in 1984 after she graduated from the Royal College of Art, and in 2001 she moved into her current premises in Hackney, London.
Unsurprisingly, much of her work is reminiscent of the lyrical style of Bloomsbury, but she is unmistakeably her own person, and her designs are bright, clear and highly decorative. Flat colour and strong lines are typical of her distinctive style.
Her interest in cake decorating stems from childhood memories of her father, Quentin Bell, decorating the Christmas cake that he’d placed on his potter’s wheel. Now she prefers to decorate cakes on a board, using marzipan and a special glue she’s developed from jam and syrup for sticking the bits on to the cake.
Extravagant and exuberant, the cakes are defined by lavish colour and extremely precise cutting and placement, using everything from glace cherries and licorice allsorts to luxury chocolates and hand-painted marzipan.
You can find more of Cressida’s work on her own website, www.cressidabell.com.