Perfectly presented cakes, painstakingly handcrafted garments and mouth-watering preserves will be just some of the 4,000 entries set to impress at the 2023 Melbourne Royal Art, Craft and Cookery Competition.
Entries have opened for the competition which offers more than 480 classes and gives 1000 artists, creators and makers the chance to share in more than $50,000 in prizes – and the thrill of winning commemorative ribbons as Melbourne Royal celebrates 175 years at the 2023 Melbourne Royal Show.
Decorated cakes are always a crowd-pleaser in the Spotlight Makers Pavilion and this year the competition has been expanded to include Decorated Cupcakes and Innovation Cakes. Feast your eyes on the Too Cute! Cakes inspired by cartoons, comic books, and anime, and the Insta-worthy section designed to light up the gram.
A brand-new category has also been added in beading; including both jewellery and non-jewellery classes, and a new theme to the junior competition covers the repurposing and upcycling of fashion to inspire a more sustainable future.
When it comes to the pinnacle prize, Art, Craft and Cookery Committee member Ramona Barry said there will be one trophy in everyone's sights.
“It’s very much the Florence Monod Memorial Trophy; she was one of the first coordinators and did it for many years and she was quite an extraordinary human being,” she said.
“To reach that pinnacle is very special and it’s also one of those great heritage moments.”
Wayne Nicholls from Corio, Victoria won the trophy in 2022 with his woodworking masterpiece.
The Florence Monod Memorial Trophy was created in 1948 to honour her service to the RASV. Florence dedicated much of her life to working for charitable and patriotic causes, and was responsible for changing the title of Women's Industries to Home Crafts, which opened the competition up to male participants.
Ramona will be entering in the printmaking, painting, basketmaking sections, and is working hard to finish her embroidery pieces in time. She will also be stewarding at this year’s competition and hopes to pick up a few valuable pointers from one section in particular.
“I’m not a cook so I really like stewarding the cookery section, and watching the judging of the preserves because I learn so much,” she said.
While winning a blue ribbon is undoubtedly treasured, Ramona said the Melbourne Royal Art, Craft and Cookery Competition holds a special place in the hearts of both visitors and exhibitors that goes beyond trophies and medallions.
“Exhibitors always remember the comment they got from the judges, the shared knowledge, skill and sense of community around it is unparalleled and it feels timeless. That communal experience and the celebration that we all share together is beautiful,” Ramona said.
“The public has always been really passionate about the pavilion too. People love seeing what other people have made because it’s like a window into other people’s lives.
“People make things and cook things for other people as a love language, so when you walk into a pavilion full of 5000 entries that are people’s love language, you can’t help but feel good.”
This year’s competition is set to see an influx of entries from schools, with the arts, craft and cooking sector experiencing a resurgence amongst young people. From six to 96, Ramona said all ages and skill levels will be celebrated.
“The poet Walt Whitman talked about being a great amateur and I think that’s what it’s all about. The competition captures the spirit of being a great amateur and embracing the hobbyist within you,” she said.
Entries for the Melbourne Royal Art, Craft and Cookery Competition opened on Wednesday, June 7 and will close on Wednesday, August 16.
For more information about the competition visit https://www.melbourneroyal.com.au/art-craft-cookery/
About the Melbourne Royal Art, Craft and Cookery Competition
The Melbourne Royal Art, Craft & Cookery Competition is a celebration of community, passion and expression. Offering 470 classes, exhibitors can explore their imagination across a diverse range of disciplines, catering for the novice through to the master. Be it leatherwork, photography or biscuit making – with more than 470 classes and $50,000 worth of prizes, there is something to interest both the brand-new hobbyist and the master.