When you think of fake food, plastic restaurant replicas might come to mind. While these displays may seem like accurate representations of what you’re about to eat, they often don’t look particularly appetizing, or even that realistic.
Then there’s the artist Huong Huynh, and her sewn felt creations of food, which are almost too real looking. It wouldn’t be all that surprising to see one of her soft sculptures in a bakery case. Even worse—or better, depending on how you think about it—they’re flawless, without any danger of melting frosting or withering fruit.
Huynh’s superlative sewing skills are the result of long practice. The Houston-based artist opened her Etsy store Milkfly in 2010, and started out with 20 pieces. Unlike her now near-photographic accuracy, those early food sculptures still had some rough edges. “The felt food I made in the beginning [was] much more simplistic than the ones I make today,” Huynh says. “I am always learning.”
Parts of Huynh’s journey have been rough as well. Her family fled Vietnam to escape the ravages of the war. Her parents, along with their first four children, spent a year in a Malaysian refugee camp. Huynh was born there, and shortly thereafter her family arrived in the U.S.A. After stints in Michigan and Louisiana, they settled in Houston, Texas, where Huynh still lives today.
Huynh attributes her creative spark to those difficult early years. “I was creative and crafty as a child simply because we didn’t [have] many toys to play with, when my family first arrived,” she says, joking that she used VHS tapes as building blocks instead of Legos. Early on, she began crafting homemade doll clothes. Now, Huynh credits her lifelong interest in art to the encouragement of her elementary school teachers. “In the third grade, the art teacher gave me…
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