With the precision of a surgeon, Kelly Ann Farrell glides the piping bag across her delicious canvas.
With each stroke of her culinary paint brush, of sorts, the bright orange lines begin to come together, creating a cheerful jack o’ lantern.
That symbol – one both of the fall season and the upcoming celebration of Halloween – becomes the central theme of one of the latest Cakes by Kelly.
Since May, the Antigonish CACL workshop member, and accomplished artist, has shared her talents in a unique manner by decorating ice cream cakes for Dairy Queen Antigonish.
In the beginning, Farrell fashioned her weekly creations at the workshop before making the move to the back kitchen of the Church Street restaurant one month ago.
Now, each Wednesday afternoon, she travels to Dairy Queen Antigonish, wearing her staff uniform, where she usually completes three to four Cakes by Kelly.
With her signature wide smile, Farrell pointed to the word “happy,” which she wrote on a slip of paper, when asked about her most recent artistic endeavour.
The exchange – a short one – as the artist quickly returned to her cake canvas, making another precision stroke across the cool surface.
“She loves it,” CACL workshop job coach Conor McCarthy said, in commenting on Farrell’s anticipation each Wednesday morning, knowing she will be spending time decorating her ice cream cakes.
He noted, when Farrell returns to the workshop after each session, she is the “center of attention.” Friends and workmates are always anxious to see photos of her latest creations.
“Everyone is so excited,” McCarthy said of the opportunity to share her experience.
Along with providing another avenue to display her talents, Farrell receives experience out in the workforce, one of the main focuses for members of the Antigonish CACL workshop.
Cakes by Kelly occupy a special place in the familiar display freezer of the restaurant; one that Jamie Stewart of Dairy Queen Antigonish noted is “usually empty.”
“It has been phenomenal,” he said, noting the desserts decorated by Farrell sell quickly.
As for the genesis of the partnership, Stewart said he approached Antigonish CACL workshop executive director Jeff Teasdale with the idea.
“I ran it by him and he was 100 per cent on board,” he added.
Farrell was the first name that came to mind for Teasdale, when it came to selecting an artist, considering her extensive portfolio of work, including drawings, paintings and photographs, which have been displayed in solo and group exhibitions.
The ideas for each cake come solely from Farrell’s artistic mind, usually reflecting a theme, such as the bare tree surrounded by fallen leaves in keeping with the autumn season.
There have been cakes created for occasions such as St. F.X. graduation.
There are even special requests, with the cake that would be soon emblazoned with that colourful jack o’lantern, filling a specific order for a Cake by Kelly.
The common thread with each delectable dessert is the eye-catching artistry created by Farrell.
“She is amazing,” Stewart said.