My name is Anna Kalgard and I was born in Czechoslovakia (now known as the Czech Republic). In 2011, after 9 years of living in Winnipeg, Canada, I came to USA and ended up on a farm, outside of a small town. While waiting for my legal paperwork, I had a lot of free time on my hands so I took advantage of it and I started to do what I loved very much but never had time to do before - paint and bake. One year later, my husband and I established our small business.
As a kid I studied at The Folk School of Art in my home town of Brno. My professor Květa Jadrníčková was a famous Czech illustrator and artist. I learned a lot of techniques of painting, printing, metal engraving, lino-cut and also the art of sculpture from her.
I paint with water colors, acrylic, enamel or pastels but I found it very interesting to paint with COFFEE. This technique is not really famous but it's unique and very challenging. I paint on canvas but also on wood and I have to admit, it can be difficult as each individual wooden plaque reacts different way. It's also works different on paper. Sometimes I wish that my day would have at least 36 hours because I have more ideas than I am able to make.
There is another story about my gingerbread. A long time ago, at Christmas time in 1989 right after the “Velvet revolution” in Czechoslovakia, excited of the new freedom, we bought an expensive real silver fir tree. It was so beautiful that I refused to put any gold, silver or any other colorful glitter decoration on it because it would ruin its natural look. I decided to bake gingerbread ornaments, put some icing on them and decorate the tree just with those cookies, pine cones, red ribbons and real red candles. I found a recipe in a woman’s magazine so I tried to bake it. My icing decoration wasn’t perfect at that time yet but my boys loved it. We never had such beautiful Christmas tree ever and I’ll never forget my sons’ sparkling eyes. I used to bake our ornaments almost every year since. Gingerbread can last for many years for decorative purposes, but the problem was that my boys always stole some from the tree. In the end, they ate them all so I had to bake the next year again. I’ve also built a gingerbread house for them a long time ago in 1990. My older son still keeps it. He said it was too pretty to eat it. I changed the recipe and techniques a few times to find the best one, really traditional. It’s a heritage passed from generation to generation.
The decoration is very intricate and it needs a training, still hand and a lot of patience because each piece takes between 30 - 120 minutes to decorate - it depends on size. Many poorly done pieces ended up in our tummies before somebody could see the nicest result. There is a special recipe for icing as well and it’s not easy to make an exact texture of it. Sometimes it's too runny and sometimes too thick, none of it is good. It took me many years to get this knowledge but I always liked the challenge.
However, I hope you will enjoy the beauty of my products – baked or painted. Each single piece is made with love and meant to make someone happy. It could be you or your loved ones.