“He who works with his hands is a labourer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”*
Standing on the stone hanging meters above ocean she felt like a bird, she felt free, the beauty of the nature and view in front of her made her stop for a moment. That moment was crucial, that moment she knew her time came. It was the time to bring back her love and passion for creation. Her desires, plans, aspirations had to be buried for a while to give the best to her children who were grown up already and had their own children. Creation of your reality lies in your hands – she thought. Little did she know how her life would be like and what to expect when she was leaving Poland to settle in Norway, but she was ready to succeed. It was not easy at first but slowly she was finding her way until one day she discovered and knew exactly which direction she was heading. It would not have happened if her daughter would not show her cakes made out of … pampers! They did not remind of cake, yes – but… ‘This one moment, one situation, one impulse was enough to make me want to create colourful, fairy-tale cakes. A month later, full of curiosity and excitement, I was sitting on a plane to Warsaw to learn the secrets of confectionery and decoration knowledge. And it was here in the wild Viking country, where nature takes your breath away, that I started to create small confectionery works, I fulfilled the dreams of both the small and the big ones. I wanted my cake to be like a king who gives away happiness and unites the guests.’
Children love her — as with a magic wand she brings their favourite fairy world into reality, to make them happy on their birthday, to bring smile on their faces when they taste delicate, summery, chocolate, sweet and sour cakes she creates for them. She mixes all the ingredients adding love and passion to every creation. For them she is a fairy with a house full of the smells associated with childhood and the kitchen filled with drawers full of various dies, molds, chocolates, sweets, masses, brushes and accessories …‘When I create a cake, through the eyes of my imagination I can see the joy of a birthday child, happiness in their eyes. I create for them so that they can be happy.’ – say Teresa Pogoda and she quickly adds ‘my passion has always been to create, and creating is like a breath without which it is impossible to live. When I create, magic happens and it touches my heart and soul’.
LSA: Teresa, you are a woman of many talents, you are a mum of five and grandmother to twelve; you bake, paint, you wrote a book, you won a prize for the best cake; you are planning to run workshops and open your own little shop. How exciting! It is a real pleasure to meet you.
TP: Thank you so much for the invitation. It is a pleasure for me too.
LSA: Please tell me what was your journey?
TP: I have an art education, but my life turned out so that I had to face extremely difficult decisions and what I loved the most, creation, had to be put aside for a while. Living and working in Norway brought that little girl in me back and my passion for creation was awakened – this time I had space for that. I have completed many courses with the best confectioners and decorators, including Kristina Rado – a world-famous Italian decorator, from whom I learned the technique of painting cookies on royal icing. My development was on many levels. I got to know the Vedic Art method, i.e. painting with the soul and heart, with which I fell in love. I learned to write business stories at the Master School of Business Storyteling in Poznań and I have completed many courses in personal development. My output is the book “Weather for cakes and sweet creations”, which was my big dream for a long time.
LSA: And your cake won first place in a contest ‘Norway in the eye of a Pole’ were around 100 constants entered the competition.
TP: Yes, that was a real distinction for me.
LSA: You also contribute to charity
TP: In Oslo, I contributed to charity creating cakes or cookies, donating my books or paintings to various charity events, the income of which was allocated to Polish children, the Single Mother House in Warsaw, or poor schools in Poland.
LSA: Your kitchen revolutions have led to writing a book “Weather for cakes and sweet creations”. The book connects two cultures – our beloved motherland with the wildness of the Viking country in the field of sweets. Why are you referring to these two countries?
TP: Norway is close to my heart. The most important thing that I bring out of Norway and what I admire is the beauty of nature. I saw places where you can feel free as a bird, I experienced the feeling that I was soaring into the skies, and the mountains were still revealing the secret of the Universe to me. Nature is so beautiful that it draws a lot of inspiration and strength to work. The book I have been working on for two years is a reflection of this. My dream, which is presented in this book, is that every person can make their own royal party! And it’s not about money, it’s not about abilities, it is about celebrating relationships. The cake is supposed to make you happy! It is like music that passes, but remains both in the memory and deep in the hearts.
LSA: How was the idea for the book born?
TP: Seeing the joy in people for what I do, I wanted to put it on paper in order to teach others to see what I see, so that they could create something special for their loved ones, so that they could offer them sweet love. My idea was to create a book that is not an ordinary cookbook or just a guidebook. My dream was to create a unique book with a soul. That the history of cakes is included through various anecdotes, and that the people appearing in the book create a unique atmosphere. The homeland I miss and the country I am in, has found a great connection here. Both the Norwegian and the Pole will find something for themselves. It does not matter that they speak another languages, because the book is written in two languages.
LSA: It took you two years to complete this book. The photos and the book itself look amazing.
TP: Thank you. Yes, it was a long and demanding process but I had that dream for a long time and was very lucky to find a great photographer and graphic designer Łukasz Olszewski and a stylist – artist Monika Stec, who watched over every shot during the photo session. Monika made sure that the cakes and cookies were displayed in the most beautiful way, and she prepared the characters for the session. Both were able to empathize with what I felt and what I wanted to convey to the reader. I worked with exceptional, unique people – people closest to my heart – my daughters and grandchildren.
LSA: What are your favourite orders?
TP: I like to create cakes where I have a free hand. I like challenges, and I do not like monotony, so it would be difficult for me to work on a massive scale. Each cake (of course, if I don’t have to reproduce it) is an improvisation. In the process of creating, I often change my original intention. I listen to my heart and often feel as if someone is guiding my hand. It is the same when I paint. My cakes are custom made for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries…
LSA: You also bake cookies and they are sold abroad
TP: Yes, that is right – I send them worldwide.
LSA: Can you live with passion?
TP: Yes, you can, because there are always people who will choose something unique instead of the so-called “mass production”, something that is dedicated only to them.
LSA: That is true; more people are turning into handmade, unique things rather than mass production. For a moment, I would like to get back to your book because it is very impressive I saw it and it looks absolutely amazing, with Xmas just around the corner that would be a very unique gift. Where our readers can find your book?
TP: Thank you so much. I am glad to hear that you like it. If someone would like to buy my book it is available through my website www.teresapogoda.com
LSA: What would you like to tell our readers?
TP: Always follow your dream, because when you do what you love, work will become a pleasure. There are always ups and downs in life. It is not always easy for us. The most important thing, however, is that when you fall, first of all extract the lesson and move forward with your head held high. Because sometimes you only need to take one more step to reach your goal. And do not look for happiness in others, because it is in you.
LSA: Thank you.
*Saint Francis of Assisi
Interview by Agnieszka Kowalczewska
Photo credit: Monika Stec / Łukasz Olszewski