People

Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin

i. I work as a…

When people ask me what I do and I know they are looking for the “10 second
polite party banter” version, I go with “I bake pies”. Which, while perhaps
erroneously conjuring images of early mornings in a commercial bakery,
isn’t strictly speaking untrue. The full version is a bit more complex –
I’m an experimental baker, pie artist, teacher, author, and industry
pie-oneer. My mission, aside from subjecting the world to as many
cringe-inducing pie puns as possible, is to redefine and reinvent “pie” for
the modern world, and create a new culinary industry while I’m at it.

ii. I do this creative work because…

“Rethinking the pie” may seem like an odd vocational calling, yet it
combines all of my skills and passions in a surprisingly satisfying way. It
involves scientific experimentation, engineering, sculpture, graphic
design, painting, pop culture savvy, photography and filmmaking/editing
skills, digital community building, creative writing, as well as a host of
general entrepreneurial skills. The satisfaction I get from uncovering a
new pastry sculpture technique, successfully troubleshooting the
engineering hurdles, creating a compelling composition commemorating a
favourite film or game, and then sharing the results with the world is
unlike any job I’ve ever had.
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iii. Personal qualities that help me in my work are…

I’ve had many different phases in my professional career and have worn many
different hats over the years. The saying “Jack of all trades, master of
none” is meant to be a caution against allowing your focus to wander into
too many arenas… however in my case, it is this very trait that is most
beneficial to my work now. The innovations I’ve developed in the world of
pie art/epic pies have been informed by my interests in paper sculpture,
print making, music, film, the sciences, etc. etc. I am not a
professionally trained baker – in fact two years ago I didn’t even know how
to crack an egg. But by finding inspiration outside of the baking world,
I’ve never been constrained by “the right way to do things” and have made
countless discoveries through doing things the wrong way.

iv. The greatest challenges around doing this work are…

The flip side of not being constrained by “the right way to do things” of
course, is that I fail, some times a lot, on my way to success! (I wasn’t
joking about that not knowing how to crack an egg thing.) I’m not a patient
person, and I tend to just wing things in the interest of getting to a
result faster. I’m slowly learning which things are okay for me to “wing” –
like trying new sculptural techniques or incorporating no-bake mixed media,
and which things I have to do by the book – like necessary conditions for
certain chemical reactions, tempering chocolate, creating “hard crack”
sugar components, stabilizing meringue, etc.
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v. Creative childhood hobbies

As a kid I was incessantly making things, usually out of cardboard or Lego,
and filling my room with precious bits of junk. Shoebox houses, toilet
paper roll people, dough art figures, felt puppets, shiny toothbrush
chandeliers… I loved to create imaginary worlds and beautiful (if only to
me) things. My mum encouraged us to make a mess and we were always
surrounded with ample glue and glitter to fuel our creative shenanigans.

vi. Other creators who inspire you

I am surrounded with inspirational, talented friends and family in so many
creative fields… from filmmakers to writers, indie game developers to
musicians, scientists to comic book artists. Vancouver is such a great
place to be for creatives, especially entrepreneurially minded ones, that
I’m never short of sources of inspiration or intelligent sounding boards
for ideas!

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vii. Training that has helped me succeed in this career …

My only formal education was a year and a half stint as a physics major at
SFU, followed by a 4-year Bachelors Degree in Design from Emily Carr. Both
have informed my work in the pie world, but no more than my time as a
filmmaker or as an entrepreneur in the tech and entertainment space. The
latter two forced me to face and solve all manner of unpredictable
challenges, and that mindset has certainly come in handy learning my way
around a kitchen and the mysteries of shortcrust pastry!

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viii. The biggest myth about this type of work is…

The biggest myth about this type of work is that this type of work doesn’t
exist. There is a misconception in the baking world that pie making is
hard, too hard to “fancy up”, because of the unpredictability of pastry in
the oven, and the speed with which you have to work. I’ve dedicated the
last two years of my life to proving that pie can be every bit as epic as
the poshest wedding cakes out there, and delicious too!

ix. Some proud career moments..

• appearing on ABC’s the CHEW in New York to present the hosts with a
custom pie for the show
• launching a kickstarter for my line of pie baking tools that fully
funded in the first hour and ended at 1600% funded
• having my work featured on CNN, CBC, People, Cosmopolitan, Food & Wine
and 50 other major publications
• publishing the first cook book on epic pie decorating (Pie-Modding)
• creating a dozen pie videos for the Food Network that have gone viral,
with one (my Death Star pie) getting 30 million views in its first week
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x. If you want to work in my field, I suggest that you…

Experiment! Don’t be afraid to crash and burn (just don’t burn your kitchen
down.) Look at things around you that have nothing to do with baking and
think about how you could apply it to pastry in some way. You’ll make a big
mess and fail a lot, but you’ll also learn a lot and uncover happy
accidents that lead to breakthroughs in your work.

xi. A professional goal I have for the future …

I would love to develop more video content, clean up and simplify my
techniques so that other people can more easily do what I do. Nothing would
make me happier than to google “pie art” or “wedding pies” or “awesome
pies” and see mountains of amazing, creative, boundary pushing pies, the
likes of which we’ve not seen since the epic pies of Medieval Kings!

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xii. If you want to see my work, go to…

Check out my blog www.piesareawesome.com and my instagram page @thePieous [
instagram.com/thePieous]
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www.creatorsvancouver.com

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