How Did SpiderMonkey Happen?
First, the name. This name was lovingly given to me by my uncle Edward Kinney. He said when I little I didn't ask to be picked up, I would climb up the side of your body like a SpiderMonkey. Guess it kinda stuck. Later, when I was 16, I figured out I was actually born in the year of the Monkey. Go figure!
I never really thought cake was going to be what I did for a living. I really didn't like baking when I was growing up, but we'll get to that. I've always fancied myself as an artist. Drawing as a kid sort of came naturally to me. I used to stare at textured walls and find pictures in the texture. Some people read magazines in the bathroom, I stared at walls.
Between then and circa 2007, I was a Super Scooper, a Finish Carpenter, a Children's Book Illustrator, a Bank Teller, and I refinished and reupholstered furniture (not necessarily in that order). Then the day came when, thanks to my then husband, I started working in a local grocery store bakery as a production decorator. It was there that I learned the basics of cake decor. I built cakes and re built cakes. I iced and re-iced lopsided cakes, shirted cakes, tapered cakes and everything in between until I finally figured out how to build a level cake with straight walls. Sometime we decide to learn something and figure out that it's a lot harder than you thought. You want to give up after the 34th mess up and start thinking "the produce department doesn't sound so bad". Then you get it and then you get it again. Next thing up know, you're getting fired for the lack of "Controlled Creativity".
Once I "left" the grocery store, I wasn't sure what to do. I was going through a divorce, I had a young daughter that I didn't want to be raised in daycare, and bills to pay. I was at Target a couple of months later when someone called my name from across the parking lot. "Jamie! Girl, we've been looking for you! I need a cake!" My first reaction was "Lol, nooooo, I don't do cake at home". She asked five times and I could only say no four. Next thing I know I'm ten years deep as a cake artist. Like I said before, I did not like baking. We didn't have to bake at the grocery store. The cakes came out of the freezer. I had no patience for baking and burned EVERYTHING when I was a teen. It's amazing how quickly you earn to do something when you have bills to pay.