Shelley Miller


Cake icing applied on side of commercial business’ exterior wall.
Working surface: 18’ × 26’ (5.5 m × 8 m).

Pipe Dreams

Site-specific installation at 3675 St. Dominique, Montréal, Québec. Part of the international exhibition Tissus Urbains, sponsored by Le Conseil des arts textiles du Québec for their 25th anniversary.

My early work with cake icing is rooted in the tradition of “do-it-yourself” and in the homemakers’ practice of making-do with materials that are readily available. It is an attempt to monumentalize the domestic and bring the traditionally female practice of cake decorating into the realm of architecture and the public domain. I am seduced and inspired by monumental architecture, specifically in their seeming timelessness and permanency.


This piece references various histories of architecture, wall painting (fresco and cave painting as well as graffiti) as well as home decorative practices and ornamentation. This work is about the illusion of grandeur and decadence - a lifestyle we strive for, but can only simulate. As the icing slowly washed away in the rain, this architectural façade underwent a sped-up version of actual history. Just as the colors of paintings fade and stone columns eventually crumble, so too did this façade de-volve.

A longer statement / essay about Pipe Dreams is also available.

Details during decomposition: Week 1, Week 6, Week 12.
Pipe Dreams took 2 weeks to install and 8 weeks to erode (the erosion time is based on rainfall).