• Milkfly's art makes felt look incredibly edible. (Atlas Obscura)
Felt provides Milkfly with a creative outlet and the results appear very realistic.
Lucy Rennick

20 Mar 2018 - 12:07 PM  UPDATED 20 Mar 2018 - 12:08 PM

They look good enough to eat, only they’re not edible. 

These hyper-realistic food sculptures are made with felt by Houston-based, Vietnamese-American artist Huonh Huynh, or Milkfly, as she’s known on handmade marketplace Etsy.  

Milkfly painstakingly sews together each one of her creations, turning pieces of felt that others might view simply as scraps of fabric into scrumptious looking cakes, sandwiches, cannoli and even cured meats. Who wants a felt sausage? Everyone? We thought so. 

“Milkfly is born out of the need to play more,” says the artist on her Etsy maker profile page. “Realising that this life truly is short, I make stuff ‘just ’cause’ I want to see what it would be like. Simply for myself. Creating is one of the greatest joys of my life.”

Huynh has been experimenting with arts and crafts since childhood, which she spent moving around the US – first Louisiana and Michigan, and finally, Texas. For a young girl born in a Malaysian refugee camp to Vietnamese parents fleeing the war, making things provided not only a creative outlet, but a chance to be resourceful in a way that had previously been unavailable to her. Plus, it was the 80s – fun materials were nothing if not abundant. One of her earliest projects was making faux French fries our of her mother’s foam shoulder pads. 

“Milkfly is born out of the need to play more.” 

“The first few years in the United States, my parents worked very hard to support five young children,” Huynh tells SBS. “There wasn’t a lot of money for extraneous things like toys, so we had to be creative with what we did have. I made doll clothes, doll houses, fake kitchens and food out of cardboard, paper, scrap cloth and whatever was around. I am glad for those years – I cultivated a resourcefulness that led to a creative life.”

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Each of her near-flawless creations are the result of “borderline obsessive” experimentation and anywhere between one-to-two hours of work. “To design a piece, I start with shapes on paper that I think will give me the form I want. I then cut it out of felt, sew and stuff it. I also use a felting needle to create subtle textures and shapes to the piece.” 

Huynh obtained a degree in Fine Arts (majoring in painting) from the University of Houston. Although her felt designs are a far cry from a painted canvas (no matter how realistic they look), her education nevertheless works its way into the creative process. “My painting skills have crept in and I’ve started using paint and permanent inks to create a more realistic effect,” she says. “My intent isn’t ‘to make art’, there’s simply this impulse I have to work it out and see it through.”  

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Milkfly’s handmade felted creations are made-to-order and available to purchase on Etsy. For $16.06 (not including shipping from the US), the Felt Food Maple Custard Bar Donut can be yours. The Felt Food Cured Meats collection (1 x felt salami and 1 x felt coppa) is slightly dearer, at $80.11. She also takes custom orders, which means the possibilities are near endless. 

Be sure to get in quick – this talent might graduate from felt food sooner rather than later. “I’m slowing down the felt food making for some time while I work on another project. I don’t want to say what it is because I don’t want to jinx myself.”

Keep up with Milkfly on Etsy. 

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