Sweet Talk with Cake Atelier Amsterdam

February 23, 2018

Georgia O’Keeffe once said of her famous florals, “I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way—things I had no words for.”

Here at Anthropologie, we find most things are said best with flowers. That’s why our registry is filled with blooming dinnerware, petaled wine glasses, and garden-inspired linens.

One of our favorite floral finds? Cake Atelier Amsterdam’s Instagram feed. Initially, we assumed we were admiring the work of a very talented florist, but as it turns out, Natasja Sadi’s ornate blooms are handcrafted, petal by petal, from sugar paste.

“I always like it when people wonder what is real and what is sugar,” says Natasja. “When they question, ‘What is art, what is fake, what is real?’”

Natasja, 42, has lived in the Netherlands since she was four, and as such, she’s always been around flowers—tulips and roses are some of the country’s main exports. A former wedding dress designer, she’s long drawn inspiration from local blooms. “It’s always the flowers that guide me,” she says. “Whether it’s the flowers painted on a jar, or in a bride’s dress, or one that’s special in someone’s life. Every petal deserves all the attention that you can give—every stage of a flower is beautiful.”

In addition to mother nature, Natasja finds inspiration from the Dutch artists who came before her—her blue and white bouquets nod to traditional Delft pottery, while unmistakably Baroque styling echoes Rachel Ruysch and

Maria van Oosterwijck’s still life paintings. “When you live here, you really get immersed in the culture of Dutch artistry,” says Natasja, whose canal-side home was built in 1776. “You don’t have to go far to experience the history. I think always took it for granted, but when I started sharing pictures of the city with the world, I really started to notice all of its beauty.”

Natasja’s foray into sugar work began only two years ago when she was working on her daughter’s birthday cake. Instead of topping the cake with fresh flowers, she decided to try making an edible arrangement. “After that, I worked on flowers every day for a whole year, teaching myself as much as I could,” she says.

Each blossom requires meticulous planning and detailing. Natasja shapes and paints every petal by hand using special tools, sometimes taking more than a day to get the cut, texture, and veins of an extravagant blossom just right.  “Sugar paste dries as it’s exposed to air, so you only have a couple of minutes to work with it, and they are extremely fragile,” she says.

As for what’s next on her sugar agenda? “There are so many more flowers I want to explore,” says Natasja. “I have a list of all the flowers I would like to tackle, and I’m not even halfway through. But I feel like what I get to do is such a gift—I feel like I’m living a dream.”

Get the look: Natasja shows off her sugar flower creations on pieces from the GardenshirePerasimaAlizaStrata, and Liberty for Anthropologie Mabelle Floral collections. She accents with a Colorado Vase, and ties it all together with Blush and Vika Sky Flatware setsShe arranges her floral and sugar bouquet in the Simone Pitcherand her tiered cake on the Glenna Stand

Something to have, something to hold: learn more about Registry by Anthropologie here.