Based in Oakland, CA, Bethany Garland, owner and chocolate artist at Lillian Joy, Decadent Art, creates one of a kind chocolate pieces for events and gift giving, for just about any special occasion. Many of her seasonal items are available right from her website. Some of my favorite pieces are highlighted in the Fall Chocolate Collection, where she offers several Day of the Dead artful nibbles.
I met Bethany a while back, after a photo of her exquisite hand painted chocolate Day of the Dead skulls magically appeared on my Facebook feed. I immediately set out to find who made these delightful works of edible beauty, since I’m always tickled pink to find other people who share the same fascination of chocolate and art, and needless to say… we have been in touch ever since. And now I’m happy to introduce her to you.
I asked Bethany a few questions about her inspiring work, and here they are, for all to enjoy 🙂
What made you decide to go into the business of chocolate art?
I knew that I wanted to have a chocolate company one day, but I wanted to do something different. This area (the Bay Area) is full of lots of wonderful truffle makers, who produce much of the same things as everyone else. It’s not that I don’t love or respect what chocolatiers and chocolate makers are doing, it’s just that I wasn’t interested in becoming “another local chocolate company”. Since I’ve never been one to follow the pack, and being that I have always been an artist, it just felt right to me combine my love of chocolate, and my artistic abilities. And that’s how Lillian Joy, Decadent Art was born.
Who is Lillian, someone we should know about?
Lillian Joy is my middle name. My full name being Bethany Lillian Joy Garland. I have always been complimented on my name, even as a child. When I was first trying to think of a name for my company, I wanted something that sounded elegant. I’ve always liked my middle name so I thought it sounded elegant enough plus I was in a way naming the company after me.
What is your favorite part about working with chocolate?
My favorite part about working with chocolate is look on the person’s face when they see or receive one of my pieces. Chocolate is one of those things in life that is just meant to make people happy. If my chocolate art doesn’t put a smile on a person’s face, I have not done my job.
Are there any challenges or unexpected mishaps you’ve encountered along the way?
There are always going to be challenges or unexpected mishaps when you are a small business owner, no matter what your business is. Sometimes, when you solve one problem, another one arises. In the past, the most challenging thing I have to deal with was the weather. I simply cannot work in chocolate on hot days. Now I have learned to focus on other things during the summer months when chocolate sales generally decline anyway. Other challenges I have to deal with are mostly related to being an entrepreneur; marketing and promotion, budget, and time management.
Do you have any advice for people interested in creating chocolate art?
My advice to anyone who is interested in creating chocolate art: don’t get frustrated, take your time, respect the chocolate because it will not always do what you want it to do and be creative.
Can you share any secrets on how you decorate your beautiful Day of the Dead chocolate skulls?
My only secret is that I let each design happen organically. I start each design based on symmetry (usually) and let it open up from there. Most of the time I don’t know what the design will look like when I’m finished. Sometimes while working on one skull, an idea will spark about how I want to decorate the next one. I have definitely experienced a creative overlap while painting these.
Is there anything you would like to mention about your business, such as other services you offer, ordering information, plans for the future etc.
Over the Summer of 2013, I began offering a chocolate tasting program available to those who are interested in learning outside the truffle. Private tasting parties are available for birthday’s, bachelorette parties and more. I also love creating custom works of art so I’m always open new and interesting ideas that can be represented in chocolate. Three-dimensional sculptures and edible paintings are what I specialize in and love to do the most.
More information visit www.lillianjoy.com.
Until next time,
Peace, Love, Chocolate,
The Chocolate Addict.com
NOTE: please understand that I am an academically challenged right-brainer, and forgive any typos, grammatical faux pas, and things that don’t make sense.