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Vietnamese woman makes flowers from discarded fish scales

Vietnamese woman makes flowers from discarded fish scales

Tuesday, October 18, 2022, 15:44 GMT+7
Vietnamese woman makes flowers from discarded fish scales
A close-up of flowers made from fish scales at Hoa Vay Ca VAVA in Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Pham Nhu Quynh, 24, in Ho Chi Minh City has devoted her time to creating artificial flowers from discarded fish scales over the past six years.

Quynh started to develop her interest in the craft after realizing the beauty of shiny fish scales discarded from the fish she used for cooking.

“I started doing this in 2017, at first it was not easy, especially in purchasing the material," she said. 

“People were wary as they did not know what I would do with the discarded and stinky fish scales.

“We took time to explain to the restaurants [where we came to buy fish scales] and they turned out to be supportive.

“Now we have a stable source of materials.”

Pham Nhu Quynh works on a product made from fish scales and other material. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre New

Pham Nhu Quynh works on a product made from fish scales and other material. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

It requires multiple steps for an artwork to be created from fish scales, including collecting the scales, cleaning and dying them before turning them into floral designs. 

Other types of material such as dried flowers, clay, shells, rocks, woods, and more are also added to make decorations.

According to Quynh, the hardest part is deodorizing fish scales. 

Nhu Quynh dyes fish scales after deodorizing them. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Pham Nhu Quynh dyes fish scales after deodorizing them. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Fish scales are dried after being dyed. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Fish scales are dried after being dyed. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Owner Pham Nhu Quynh glues the fish scales together to create a flower at her Hoa Vay Ca VAVA shop in Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News.

Pham Nhu Quynh glues fish scales together to create a flower at her Hoa Vay Ca VAVA shop in Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Quynh sells her works at Hoa Vay Ca VAVA shop at 112E Hoang Dieu Street in District 4, providing customers with a wide range of floral patterns including roses, cherry blossoms, tulips, apricot blossoms, and more, all made from the scales of many different kinds of fish. 

She also makes bouquets and paintings out of fish scales.

Flowers made from fish scales at Hoa Vay Ca VAVA in Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News.

Flowers made from fish scales at Hoa Vay Ca VAVA in Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News.

It usually takes Quynh 15 minutes to make a flower out of fish scales, two to three hours to craft a bouquet, and up to a month to finish a painting. 

Flowers at Quynh’s shop fetch VND100,000-3 million (US$4-123) while paintings cost up to tens of millions of dong. 

Quynh said customers in Vietnam often buy her products to decorate their houses or to present to their friends and relatives, while most clients from other countries buy wholesale for reselling. 

A product fetches VND900,000 (US$36.98). Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

A product fetches VND900,000 ($37). Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Flowers at Quynh’s shop fetch from VND100,000 to 3 million (US$4.11 to $123.28). Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre New

Flowers at Pham Nhu Quynh’s shop fetch VND100,000-3 million. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Besides earning income from the craft, Quynh has also created jobs for 80 disabled people in Ho Chi Minh City who are employed to process the products. 

In the future, she plans to boost production, generate more jobs, and conduct workshops for participants to make artworks from fish scales.

Flowers made from fish scales at Hoa Vay Ca VAVA in Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News.

Flowers made from fish scales at Hoa Vay Ca VAVA in Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Pham Nhu Quynh and the flowers made from fish scales at her shop. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News.

Pham Nhu Quynh and the flowers made from fish scales at her shop. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

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Pham Nhu Quynh, 24, in Ho Chi Minh City has devoted her time to creating artificial flowers from discarded fish scales over the past six years.

Quynh started to develop her interest in the craft after realizing the beauty of shiny fish scales discarded from the fish she used for cooking.

“I started doing this in 2017, at first it was not easy, especially in purchasing the material," she said. 

“People were wary as they did not know what I would do with the discarded and stinky fish scales.

“We took time to explain to the restaurants [where we came to buy fish scales] and they turned out to be supportive.

“Now we have a stable source of materials.”

Pham Nhu Quynh works on a product made from fish scales and other material. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre New

Pham Nhu Quynh works on a product made from fish scales and other material. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

It requires multiple steps for an artwork to be created from fish scales, including collecting the scales, cleaning and dying them before turning them into floral designs. 

Other types of material such as dried flowers, clay, shells, rocks, woods, and more are also added to make decorations.

According to Quynh, the hardest part is deodorizing fish scales. 

Nhu Quynh dyes fish scales after deodorizing them. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Pham Nhu Quynh dyes fish scales after deodorizing them. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Fish scales are dried after being dyed. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Fish scales are dried after being dyed. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Owner Pham Nhu Quynh glues the fish scales together to create a flower at her Hoa Vay Ca VAVA shop in Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News.

Pham Nhu Quynh glues fish scales together to create a flower at her Hoa Vay Ca VAVA shop in Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Quynh sells her works at Hoa Vay Ca VAVA shop at 112E Hoang Dieu Street in District 4, providing customers with a wide range of floral patterns including roses, cherry blossoms, tulips, apricot blossoms, and more, all made from the scales of many different kinds of fish. 

She also makes bouquets and paintings out of fish scales.

Flowers made from fish scales at Hoa Vay Ca VAVA in Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News.

Flowers made from fish scales at Hoa Vay Ca VAVA in Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News.

It usually takes Quynh 15 minutes to make a flower out of fish scales, two to three hours to craft a bouquet, and up to a month to finish a painting. 

Flowers at Quynh’s shop fetch VND100,000-3 million (US$4-123) while paintings cost up to tens of millions of dong. 

Quynh said customers in Vietnam often buy her products to decorate their houses or to present to their friends and relatives, while most clients from other countries buy wholesale for reselling. 

A product fetches VND900,000 (US$36.98). Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

A product fetches VND900,000 ($37). Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Flowers at Quynh’s shop fetch from VND100,000 to 3 million (US$4.11 to $123.28). Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre New

Flowers at Pham Nhu Quynh’s shop fetch VND100,000-3 million. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Besides earning income from the craft, Quynh has also created jobs for 80 disabled people in Ho Chi Minh City who are employed to process the products. 

In the future, she plans to boost production, generate more jobs, and conduct workshops for participants to make artworks from fish scales.

Flowers made from fish scales at Hoa Vay Ca VAVA in Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News.

Flowers made from fish scales at Hoa Vay Ca VAVA in Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Pham Nhu Quynh and the flowers made from fish scales at her shop. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News.

Pham Nhu Quynh and the flowers made from fish scales at her shop. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!

Ngoc Phuong - Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

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