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People Go Bananas for Miniature Artist’s Tiny Produce

Simone Jonker worked in NTD Inspired for two years. She wrote light articles and inspiring stories.
Published: March 30, 2022
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While they look good enough to eat, these bananas were crafted out of clay, by the talented miniature artist Nhu Quynh Thi Nguyen. (Image: Courtesy of Nguyen Quynh via Facebook)

An enchanting collection of tiny fruits and vegetables, crafted by perhaps Vietnam’s greatest miniature artist, is nothing less than a visual feast. Each item is meticulously sculpted with astounding attention to detail and hand-painted in various vibrant hues. Because each piece of art is one-of-a-kind, her diminutive sculptures have become highly sought-after collectibles.

A vast array of fruits, vegetables, and herbs is painstakingly molded to perfection. Tiny bunches of bananas, realistically not-quite-ripe; green kabocha squash, cut to reveal pips in fine detail; Asian greens of all sorts, with astounding accuracy of texture and color; garlic, eggs, mushrooms, and more, are lovingly crafted by this talented artist. 

Color, texture, and exquisite detail come together perfectly to form magically miniature kabocha squash. (Image: Nhu Quynh Nguyen)

Where it all began

Nhu Quynh Thi Nguyen, a 33-year-old Hanoian, began sculpting clay in her free time over ten years ago. Her husband, The Dung Nguyen, encouraged and supported her as she delved into her newfound passion. 

Quynh told Epoch Times in an interview, “You need to have a passion first, I felt a strong inspiration to do clay modeling, and I started finding information about clay food sculptures.”

Quynh stated that her love of food influenced her to concentrate her artwork on small food items as the main subject.

“Those everyday dishes both in photos and in real life always stimulate my creative side. I draw from the different cultures of many countries, different places offer different tastes and feelings,” she said.

Her specialization in Asian vegetables makes a trip to the minimarket an enchanting, exotic experience. (Image: Nhu Quynh Nguyen)

First love

Quynh’s first love, though, will always remain her own country of Vietnam. Folk culture, colors, and family meals are among the things she is most passionate about, and she makes it a point to represent them all in her art.

Before creating an art piece, Quynh meticulously studies her subject, then skillfully crafts it into the clay piece, molding it into a perfect miniature version of the original.

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Simple supplies, exacting tools, and incredible talent for detail are the ingredients for Quynh’s life-like creations. (Image: Nhu Quynh Nguyen)

Quynh explains, “The making process requires a real specimen in front of me so that I can portray the exact ratio, the shape, and the color as well, I have to put in all my effort and stay inspired through the whole process, so it can turn out to be a ‘soulful living’ thing.”

Color mixing, according to Quynh, is essential to “portraying exactitude.” She says she primarily paints her clay models with non-fading watercolors. 

“The next step is shaping, which results in the item looking genuine, so I use lots of different tools,” she explained. It takes time to create an “extremely realistic-looking item with minute details.”

Completing the illusion

To house her perfect miniature produce, Quynh also creates little replicas of restaurants, bakeries, and supermarkets.“with plenty of food miniatures inside,” she said. The illusion is completed with diminutive accessories like baskets, bins, appliances, and utensils.

Tiny baskets and other accessories complete Quynh’s fantastic miniature world. (Image: Nhu Quynh Nguyen)
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As realistic as they appear, these chicken, quail, and duck eggs are just right for Barbie. (Image: Nhu Quynh Nguyen)
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The authenticity that captures all the imperfections and irregularities of nature that make it beautiful is what makes Quynh’s work extraordinary. (Image: Nhu Quynh Nguyen)
Mini napa cabbages with leaves like fine lacework. (Image: Nhu Quynh Nguyen)

She also maintains a social media page where she sells her exquisite clay artwork and educates her pupils about clay product creation.

“My students come from different backgrounds, from ones with a business mindset to ones with a simple fondness for clay,” she said. “Each one has brought different emotions to me, and some of them even made a few items that put me in awe.”

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Quynh shared that she faces challenges in her work, but her passion keeps her moving on to make breakthroughs and seek “fresh inspiration.”

“By having a passion, you will love  what you’re doing and you can be fully devoted to it,” she said. “Once the inspiration is back, I feel like I am energized to go on.”

Quynh encourages people never to give up, pursue their inner calling, and follow their hearts.