Sugar craft, also known as sugar modeling, is a handicraft that transforms sugar powder into an artistic figure such as an animal or flower by using a special paste: melted sugar powder mixed with gum tragacanth. In particular, when sugar is melted in a high temperature environment, it becomes syrup. With this syrup, the handicraftsmen gently form an artistic figure with their hands.
The origin of these figures goes back to the 1990s when Jude Peria, Luxembourg's confectioner and Toria Etian, a pastry chef, started to hand down the techniques and the arcanum of making sugar craft works. Then, after World War I and World War II, the food industry, including the sugar craft industry, was widely developed and spread throughout the world.
Sugar craft in Korea began during Japanese colonialism, when many Koreans had specialized jobs, such as baker or craftsman. Soon after Korea achieved its independence, Kim Hwan-sik first introduced the art of sugar craft into Korea.
In contemporary society, sugar craft has become an art work where people can freely express ideas in their works. Lee Hyun-jin (Sookmyung Women? Univ., 3) says, "When I first found out about the world of sugar craft, I was charmed by the different styles of works made by sugar." She continues, "The normal impression that we have of sugar is the white or yellow powder that is put to make something sweet. However, this sweetness can be turned into a highly technical and delicate work."
Lee first entered the world of sugar art when she found herself bored with her life. As a result, she tried different kinds of arts and crafts such as paper crafts work and beads crafts. Interested in various handicrafts, Lee found her current interest through visiting a bakery near her house and seeing the baker decorate a wedding cake full of sugar craft works. "As a hobby, I visit bakeries to learn the delicate world of sugar art, says Lee.
It is not only professionals who are able to enter the sugar art industry. Just like any other hobbies such as making paper dolls or handicraft necklaces and earrings, spending time on making melted sugar into a work of art is open to all people.
As the work of sugar craft grabs attention, various institutions are starting to increase the number of classes in this area. Choi Doo-ri, a sugar craft expert, has her own institution to teach the work of sugar crafts. Located near the Olympic Park, the institution has beginning, intermediate, and advanced level classes, each with a course of three months. Choi, the president of the academy, says, ?aking your own sculpture out of sugar is very charming, for there is freedom in the ability to make any shape you want to decorate baked items.
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