Xu's colorful array of bread creations. [Photo provided to China Daily]
Making bread is a form of art. The ingredients when mixed together produce something greater than the sum of their parts. Baker Xu Hui goes one better; she makes art from bread. In her hands, flour, salt, sugar and olive oil become a palate to mix and create images that stun and amaze.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Xu, 39, a baker based in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, started to turn leftover dough into art.
She produced bread versions of hand gestures, face masks and the iconic melting pocket watch by Salvador Dali shown in The Persistence of Memory.
Her inspiration comes from daily life－the clothes she wore, the vegetables she bought, and even the flowers and grass on the roadside she saw while walking her dog.
The South China Agriculture University graduate changed careers in her mid-30s, from that of a salesperson and a trainer to working in the food sector. She finally found her true calling, and having a degree in agriculture economics and management helped.
"The pandemic gave us plenty of time as we abandoned much unnecessary social contact, and once we had an idea, we had time to achieve it right away," says Xu from Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
During the period of social distancing to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, she started her artistic bread creations, initially with just the hand gestures, alongside her normal baker's work.
Bread comes alive when in the oven. Unlike cookies that keep their shape, bread will change, rise, then take shape. Consequently Xu needs to adjust the dough accordingly.