At first sight it would be easy to dismiss Pâtisserie–a collection of sculptures of decadent French desserts–as decorative fluff destined to adorn the baroque shelves of grandmas and Russian nouvelle riches. But the art, process, and science that sustain Shayna Leib‘s work put it a few steps above LLadró.
Her mouth-watering sculptures started as a response to “severe dietary restriction,” she explains on her site. She can’t have these delicious pieces of egg, sugar, flour, and chocolate, so she had the idea to do this “as a therapeutic exercise in deconstruction and a re-training of the mind to look at dessert as form rather than food. It soon became a technical riddle, and I became a food taxidermist of french pastries.”
Instead of traditional edible ingredients, she had to reverse engineer the visual look of the real thing using both glass and ceramics. Obtaining the perfect textures and specular highlights called for “every possible technique in both mediums; glassblowing, hot-sculpting, lampwork, fusing, casting, and grinding in glass and well as the ceramic techniques of hand-building, throwing, and using a good old fashioned pastry tube.” The results, as you can see in these photos by Eric Tadsen, are perfect.
Talking over email, Shayna told me that she made 82 designs following classic pâtisserie traditions that make them look just like the real thing. Only two, she says, are replicas of pastry made by specific chefs. One is made after a creation by Karim Bourgi–an renown international confectioner based in Dubai–and another by Lida Ostapchuk–a creative pastry chef from Kiev, Ukraine.