Jelly art has taken the creative world by storm in recent years. YouTube has hundreds, if not thousands of videos showing how to make these 3D dessert creations. Jelly chefs use large syringes and specially shaped nozzles to inject semi-solid coloured gelatin into a colourless gelatin base that has been allowed to set overnight.
The result is stunning artscapes suspended in a clear gelatin that looks like glass. Creations are limited only by your imagination. Some chefs create edible fish bowls with gelatin sculptures of goldfish. Others etch floral arrangements, or country scenes, animals, birds or rolling landscapes.
It is a laborious, messy and time-consuming business. When Perth jelly artist Connie Chandra's deep in the creative process, her dining table is strewn with sticky remnants and food colouring. But she loves what she does, not only for the pleasure it gives her but also for the pleasure it gives to others.
You see, Connie's jelly art has a deeper purpose than just being eye candy. This creative mother of three makes these edible works of art to give away. She gives them to people she feels could use some extra love, some expression of compassion and care and also donates them to churches and non-profit organisations to use as fundraisers.
It is her way of bringing joy and sharing her faith in Jesus Christ with others.
Connie, who fairly crackles with energy and is rarely found sitting down and doing nothing, says making jelly art helps her fulfil one of her passions in life: blessing others with the gifts and talents she says God has given her.
"I'm proof that you can use anything to share the love of God with people," she says. "Sometimes people believe they have to have some kind of mega-impressive talent, but you don't.
"People just need to know someone cares, and whether that's done by impressive means or simple means, it's just important to do it and not to think poorly of your own efforts."
She feels God's gifts should not go to waste. Using her jelly creations as a tool for evangelism has opened doors for her where perhaps more traditional methods have not worked. "It's a way of sharing the love and good news message of Jesus Christ in a gentle and non-threatening way," she says. "It's hard to be offended by jelly!"
Connie, who is originally from Singapore, has lived in Perth for almost 25 years.
She is a first-generation Christian whose parents and grandparents were proud Chinese religionists and considered Christianity a white man's religion.
Thanks to her uncle who was the first in her family to commit his life to God and endured much mocking and rejection, Connie attended church. She received God into her life when she was about nine years old.
Her journey with God has had its hurdles. She struggled with issues such as evil and pain in the world. She says she battled with intellectual pride as she sought to understand the heart of God with her mind rather than her heart.
The turning point came with the birth of her first child. "It was only when I became a mother that I began to tangibly grasp the love of God, who gave His only Son so that none of us would perish (John 3:16).
"It was only when I could not imagine seeing my own son experience pain of any form that I was able to appreciate the tremendous sacrifice God had made."
Today, nearly 50 years since her uncle braved family scorn, Connie reveals with great joy that her entire family are all Christians.
"Here we are decades later, a family united in God. His love is amazing. If He could reach into the lives of my grandparents, aunts, uncles and parents-in-law, there is hope for anyone!
"We just have to give Him time."
Yes, time and as any jelly artist will tell you, a little wiggle room.•