Janice Thwaites

Visual Artist

Ever After Wedding Cake - 1997-2009

Originally constructed for remarks "Grey Matters" Exhibition in 1997. This was shown at The Diorama Gallery, Osnaburgh St. London. It was also shown in Winchester, and Quay Arts, Newport, I.O.W. Titled “Ever After” this cake is real, with icing and marzipan. Janice explains:

“After the cake had been in storage for a number of years, I decided to remove the acrylic case and take out the broken glass. The cake was set onto a plinth and installed in my garden. The idea was for nature to take its course.

The cake was photographed as a visual diary to document what effects the elements would have on the surface, and if anything would eat it.

This work has many interpretations. For myself it is very personal, and I relate to this cake on many levels. I have had more comments on this work than any other piece that I have made.

Broken glass stuck into this cake, surrounding a bride and groom, infers that sharing a life together will never be easy.

After removing the glass, the dangers are less obvious, but the shards are still impregnated into the cake.

After many days out in the open, the cake is untouched. The odd fly lands on it but does not stay. Maybe, because it is white. Are birds and insects afraid of it?

Following heavy rain, the icing has softened, and a few ants investigate. The tidemark at the base is of watery sugar and has stopped then in their tracks. I would have liked the cake to be covered in ants. There are a few dead ones in the liquid. Maybe the liquid has become alcoholic.

The surface resembles a melting glacier. Deep rivulets cascading down the sides of the cake expose more broken glass. A yellow, brown, syrup oozes out.

Because of the rain, the cake became pot marked. The marzipan starts to show through. The stab marks from the glass are less defined. The ants have another unsuccessful attempt. Should the bride and groom decide to leave at this point, they would have had a quagmire to cross.

After three months in the garden, I decided to cut a slice from the cake to see what had become of the interior. It was not mouldy, it was not hollow, and to my surprise, the cake looked perfect. In fact, the colour was good, it was moist, and looked good enough to eat. This was not at all what I expected.

Cooking was never my strong point. As nothing managed to eat this cake, not even seagulls, notorious for eating anything, I have decided never to make another one.

Despite everything that has been thrown at it, the foundations are solid. Like many relationships it survived all adversaries.

The cake now rests in peace at Lynbottom, the Isle of Wight municipal tip.”

Page last updated: 06 March 2022