The Masterful Art of Papaya Flower Sculpting by Nguyen Thi Thu
In Vietnam, Nguyen Thi Thu is a rare artist who has perfected the ancient craft of creating intricate and lifelike flowers from papaya fruit. Her journey began at the age of 15 when she was introduced to papaya carving. Despite a 15-year hiatus in Russia, where she couldn’t find green papayas, her passion endured. When she returned to Hanoi in 2009, she resumed her art and became a master.
Nguyen Thi Thu selects papayas with specific characteristics, soaks them to remove the sap, and then expertly shapes them into stunning flowers using simple tools. Her favorite challenge is sculpting chrysanthemums, a process that can take over an hour for a single flower.
In addition to her artistic endeavors, Nguyen Thi Thu teaches her craft to others in Hanoi, ensuring that the tradition lives on. She also offers tips on how to keep papaya flower sculptures fresh, even experimenting with preservatives to extend their lifespan. Her work is a testament to the importance of preserving cultural heritage through traditional art forms.