Category Archives: People

Art is… a piece of cake (Feats of Fantasy with special guest Tiffany Flanagan)

Tiffany Flanagan’s sumptuous groom cake—a spellbinding dragon guarding his precious treasure of an ancient grimoire—deserves space in an art gallery, not the bellies of wedding guests. But this original creation is totally edible. The amber fire-breather is even fashioned from Rice Krispies® Treats.

Work in progress video for the grooms cake. The dragon is made from rice Krispy treats and the book is cake.

Posted by Tiffany Flanagan Art on Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Thankfully, I was able to feast my eyes on it before it was gobbled up and gulped, stirring my creative passions and my desire to seek out MORE Tiffany Flanagan artwork, and maybe the story behind her art.

To my joy, I discovered a treasure trove of fantastical art and antiquities, curated by the inimitable Dr VonDrachen (more on her later), and Tiffany has been gracious enough to share with us today. After all, art inspires art, and artists inspire others.

I hope Tiffany’s story (and her breath-taking artwork) inspires you as much as she inspired me.

Create Bold. Write Bold. Live and Be Bold. Cherie


Cherie: Welcome, Tiffany. Your work is amazing! How long have you been an artist?

Tiffany: First, thank you so much for your kind words I am so happy you enjoy my work. Next, I have always been artistic, from a very young age. I always had a love for creating. I only really started applying what I loved when I opened up my own cake company about 8-10 years ago.

Cherie: What do you think about when you create?

T: This will sound crazy but I think of nothing. I allow thoughts to come and go and I don’t hold onto any of them. It’s being in the flow, allowing the soul to take over and not think. Thinking just creates doubt.

C: What advice do you have for young people?

T: Never give up…with practice you can be good at anything! Even it is just a little bit at a time, over time you will just get better and better.

C: Tell me about your early years.

T: I grew up in Rhode Island. I enjoyed living in my beachfront cottage with my mom, dad and little sister. Every day, I would enjoy exploring the rocky coastline for treasures. In my late teens, I spent time with my highschool sweetheart Mike (who was also an artist) and my best girlfriend (who is still to this day my bestie). My boyfriend and I used to take classes on how to swing dance and we would be the crowd favourite at dances.

C: What inspired you as a child? Do you have a favourite novel from your childhood?

T: I think what inspired me was my Father…he used to do these really cool doodles on scrap paper! As for a favourite novel, well, I loved the RL Stine collection and when I was older I picked up historical romance novels. Ha!!

My magic- from start to finish.

Posted by Tiffany Flanagan on Wednesday, 24 February 2016

C: Did the art inspire the cake making, or the cake making inspire the art?

T: Cake making came first. I had my own company for years then decided it would be better on my family to work for someone, so I did. I worked for a well-known company for years then got into a major car crash going in to work one day. I broke my back in many places and while recovering I discovered I loved working in polymer clay.

C: That would have been incredibly painful. Did art play a role in helping with your recovery?

T: Yes, art was one of my saving graces because when I created I would enter into the “flow”. This allowed my mind to focus on something besides the pain. I would also do a lot of meditation, this would help, too. When I talk to people going through back surgery I tell them: Be patient, the pain will be there and then it will slowly get better and better. To this day I still suffer from pain but I do small amounts of yoga to help from stiffing up. Exercise helps a lot, too!

C: Do you feel sad when you design an amazing cake that you know will be eaten?

T: Yes, it’s an awful feeling to know your work is only here for a short period of time. To be honest, that is why I work in clay these days. I know that it will last and last.

C: You sell your amazing art on the fabulous Dr VonDrachen’s Cabinet of Curiosities website and Etsy. Where did the idea of Dr VonDrachen come from?

T: The good doctor is just an outlet to allow me to create anything in any medium, including writing.

C: What is the significance of her skull face?

T: It’s a mystery as to what she might look like. This allows the reader’s imagination to have her look or be anyone they want.

C: You have a fabulous Dr VonDrachen voice. Have you written any books yourself?

T: Haha, no. I really don’t think I am strong at writing but maybe it’s something I should exercise.

C: Yes, absolutely! Are you a horror or curiosity fan, or do you lean towards other spec fic sub-genres?

T: That’s hard because I love them all, but I guess these days I love more of the curiosity, fantasy side. I really don’t like lots of blood and guts or slasher films. They don’t inspire me.

C: Ditto. What is your favourite art ever created?

T: Sculpting. I love looking at marble statues. To this day, it boggles my mind as to how it was accomplished!!! ((Aliens))

C: What projects are you working on right now and what’s your inspiration?

T: My latest project is doll making. They are commissions and are fairy tale inspired. Also, talking of inspiration, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without my two favourite cheerleaders: my amazing supportive husband of 15 years, Jeffrey, and my awesome son, Nolan. They bring out the best in me.

C: Does that mean your studio is neat or messy?

T: Messy.

C: What star sign are you? Are you a planner or a spur-of-the-moment girl?

T: I’m a Virgo. I kinda do both. It makes me feel good when I am organized but half the time my ADD kicks in and there is no stopping me from creating something.

C: If you could spend a day with any three people, dead or alive, who would they be?

T: Jim Henson, Tim Burton and George Harrison.

C: If you could have dinner with any three storybook or film characters (any galaxy, Wookies included), who would they be?

T: Hmmm, this is a good one. I would say Vanessa Ives (Penny Dreadful), Jareth (Labyrinth) and Mary Poppins.

C: Finally, a few quick questions: Cat or dog lover?  T: Cat.

C: What do you eat for breakfast?  T: Egg and Spinach.

C: Favourite shade of nail polish or gel?  T: Pink.

C: Favourite novel or TV series?  T: Ancient Aliens.

C: Name three special things you keep on your desk or in your studio?  T: Stickers from friends, artwork from my son and pictures.

C: What possession will you never-ever give up?  T: Art.

Cherie: What gift do you never-ever want to be given?

Tiffany: Hmmm… the gift of seeing dead people.

Tiffany, thank you so much for sharing your inspiring thoughts and awesome art with my students and readers. Discovering your work at the start of this year has personally inspired me and I’m looking forward to seeing what new creations you have in store for us all in the future. Happy Rhode Island-ing and I hope the weather gets warmer soon! Cher

Postscript: Tiffany sourced the groom cake text from an ancient spell book found beneath the floorboards in a villa once belonging to Abbé Bérenger Saunière, whose conspiracy theories surrounding the Rennes-le-Chateâu were later the inspiration behind Dan Brown’s bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code. You can view copies of the original pages here.

Art and fantasy lovers (and everyone else!) can view Tiffany’s art at her Dr VonDrachen website, her Facebook page or Etsy.


Inside a wibbly-wobbly mind…

David Tennant as Dr WhoMost readers would love to spend an hour between bookshelves. Bundaberg Regional Library Youth/Community Services Librarian Sue Gammon gets paid to be surrounded by them every day. A huge Dr Who fan, this Australia’s Favourite nominated librarian gave me some answers which even Gallifreyans might find supercalifragilisticexpialidociouis.

What is your favourite shade of nail polish? Dark Red

What do you eat for breakfast? I’m a yoghurt and toasted muesli person.

What three sMuesli and yoghurtpecial things do you keep on your desk? My porcelain mug, a potted cyclamen and a Marvin the Martian lolly jar.

What sort of a teen were you and what books were you reading back then?  A fairly quiet teen I think, but very involved with books and art. I read almost anything – at that stage I think I was into true crime and fantasy fairly exclusively.

What era was it and what was hot?  The late Seventies – flared jeans, cork shoes, curly hair and horrific music…

What were your favourite books or films back then?  Definitely Lord of The Rings for the book, and probably Star Wars for the movie – I remember seeing it 7 times at the movies!

A Tardis cuppaIf you could have dinner with any three storybook characters (any galaxy, wookies included), who would they be?  Hercule Poirot (as long as I wasn’t the murdered person), Psmith from the PG Wodehouse series, and Dr Who of course!
If you could have afternoon tea with any three authors (any space or time), who would they be? Enid Blyton, Charles Dickens and C.S.Lewis  – and maybe Agatha Christie if I can have a gatecrasher!

Are there any special questions you’d ask them? I’d be learning about their lives, and their impetus to write the books they did. And what they think of how well known their books have become.
Buckaroo BanzaiWhat is your favourite quote from a movie or a book? Buckaroo Banzai across the Fifth Dimension: “Wherever you go – there you are.”

Do you have a favourite genre? Probably Urban Fantasy or Paranormal at present
What are your favourite books? Hard one – I have a lot! My favourite childhood book was Ursula Moray Williams’ The Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse (don’t know why exactly, it just was). My current favourite is Deborah Harkness’ A Discovery of Witches

What are you reading right now? About 10 books, from non-fiction to thrillers, fantasy and romance
Are you a Hunger Games fan? Yes – I thought the books were great.

What is the next big book happening for YA?  To be honest I have no idea – media dictates a lot these days, so a sleeper novel could go ballistic if a movie is made.

Librarian Sue Gammon (right) with author Anita HeissWhen did you decide to become a librarian? Sadly, when I was about seven, I announced to my parents that I was going to become a librarian and that was it – total focus and nothing else would do! I did think though, that it meant sitting around in libraries reading books all day…

Did you have a favourite librarian when you were growing up?  Yes, the daughter of a family friend became a librarian about 15 years before I did, and inspired me a lot.

Why do you think you are a favourite librarian? I think it’s about making an impact on someone at some stage, and maybe that’s why. I’ve been doing the job for 30 odd years so, it’s nice to know at least someone out there has appreciated something I’ve done.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you not be able to live without? Three books that I could re-read forever.
What gift do you never-ever want to be given? A Country and Western CD – of any kind…