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Incredible Edible Art

Local artist Petcharee Tamawong teaches residents how to carve fruit into masterpieces.

Petcharee Tamawong has a special talent she first learned in Thailand—fruit carving. And now you can learn this beautiful art in Tamawong's class on Saturday.

"I took a class back in Thailand just for fun at that time," Tamawong said. "And since I moved here eight years ago, I started doing it for parties, and all my friends told me I should do it professionally. I like photographing, so I combine the two."

Tamawong also works at , where artwork is rotated every month, and for the month of December, Tamawong's pictures will be showcased. The restaurant walls are lined with Tamawong's photographs of her fruit and vegetable carvings. The photographs are simply framed to showcase the colorful pictures.

"I do art shows during the summer, the Open Studios, and other exhibitions here and there," said Tamawong. "I also love taking close ups of flowers."

The detail Tamawong likes in the close ups of her flowers is translated into her exquisite fruit and vegetable carvings.

She uses just one type of knife to do the carving. Samples of her work included an eggplant, a sweet potato, a turnip and a daikon radish, with yellow food-coloring-painted centers. For each fruit or vegetable, the skin and the meat are used in the designs she creates.

For instance, on the eggplant, the dark purple skin outlines the center of a flower, and the white petals grow in size as they curve around the vegetable. Stems and leaves complete the design. The intricate carving is a marvel to behold, and the work obviously requires a lot of patience. The eggplant takes Tamawong one hour to carve.

"I do all kinds of fruit, but mostly I do watermelon," Tamawong said. "Watermelon is one of my favorite subjects, and people love them for their weddings."

Originally from Thailand, Tamawong enjoys her new home in Santa Cruz.

"I like it here, because it's more challenging and I got to learn so many things," she said. "And people like my art work. I never got to do this in Thailand."

Tamawong's class on Saturday is for beginners. You'll learn to make a tomato flower and carve a daikon radish and three patterns on a watermelon. You'll also carve leaves on apples.

Have fun at the class, and then decorate your holiday table with beautiful carved fruit and vegetables.

If you go ...

What: Fruit Carving Class

When: Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon

Cost: $65, includes knife and all other materials

Where:

Contact: Petcharee Tamawong

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