I am an artist, but not just any artist! My art looks lovely and tastes absolutely scrumptious! While cake decorating has been a passion of mine for the past ten years, it has taken on a whole new meaning through my study at the Theology of the Body Institute, particularly the course: “Theology of the Body and Art: The Way of Beauty.” Here are five things Theology of the Body has helped me understand as a cake decorator:
1) As an artist, I image the Creator
One of the times when I am most fully alive is when I mold sugar into tiny detailed flowers, or when I pipe a colorful border on a cake. It is very satisfying to craft something beautiful, and it leads to a certain sense of fulfillment. The satisfaction I feel calls to mind God’s words when looking at the Garden of Eden – “Behold, it is good!” God longs for us to image and imitate Him as Creator. Just as He expresses Himself through the world He has created, I love to express myself through my art and creativity.
2) My art calls others to stop and contemplate.
In a world of instant gratification and technology, it is very hard to stop and take in the beauty of everything around us. Every time I decorate a cake, people take a moment to pause and look. The culture tries to convince us we only have worth if we are productive, but I have realized that beauty helps us to see that our worth comes rather from the fact that we are loved by God. Beauty encourages us to receive, and to “waste” time allowing God to love us through it.
3) Cake decorating makes visible the invisible
One of the prominent truths I have learned through Theology of the Body is that God makes Himself known through the visible. I love to tell people that when I make cakes, I am putting myself into what I make. The choices I make in decorating a cake can express the joy of a specific event, or the uniqueness of a couple on their wedding day. As an artist, I delve into humanity, focusing on making visible the emotions and the experiences of the human person.
4) Gorgeous, delicious cake can point others to Everlasting Beauty
Beauty draws us in. It has the power to lead us beyond ourselves in an unconscious way and shows us our deep desires for good and beautiful things. Finite goods which appeal to my heart, (like a beautiful, delicious cake!) can point to the eternal destiny and desires I have. As a cake decorator, my work can bring others to experience limited beauty, and hopefully call others to enter their deeper desires for infinite beauty and satisfaction.
5) Art is a vocation
I have always struggled with my artistic talent. I love expressing myself through the arts, and yet the world sees such artistic talents as “useless”. The Theology of the Body has helped me to see that I have a vocation as an artist. St. John Paul II said in his Letter to Artists: “In a very true sense it can be said that beauty is the vocation bestowed on him by the Creator in the gift of ‘artistic talent.’ And, certainly, this too is a talent which ought to be made to bear fruit…” God has given me these artistic talents for a reason, and He calls me to use them for the good of others. My art is not only is to make something lovely for my own pleasure, but to point others to God Himself!
Katarina Woltornist is from New Jersey and is a recent graduate from Catholic Distance University. When she is not spending time with family and friends, she loves to read, make stained glass, and do calligraphy. She is currently an intern for the Theology of the Body Institute and has taken Theology of the Body I and Theology of the Body and Art: The Way of Beauty.