Kerry Samantha Boyes. Credit: Colin Hattersley
Kerry Samantha Boyes. Credit: Colin Hattersley

UK’s first fake food store: ‘My training in taxidermy helps me create realistic food replicas that featured in Barbie’

Kerry Samantha Boyes has always loved building things. 

Growing up in the North Pennines, the hills and wildlife were her playground. And when she wasn’t running around outside, she was at her father’s woodworking studio learning how to craft things. 

But it wasn’t until she began working under Scotland’s leading taxidermist, George Jameison, that she discovered her love of making replicas.

Little did she know then that her taxidermy training would come in handy when she came up with the idea to make incredibly realistic sculptures of food from her kitchen table during lockdown.

From mouth-watering-looking cakes, pies and jellies to roast goose, Scottish breakfasts and historical banquet dishes, her life-like creations are in high demand.  

‘I’ve spent many years creating replicas,’ Kerry said. ‘I began my career on Hadrian’s Wall, making facsimiles of Roman altar stones and painting frescos for the Vindolanda Museum. 

‘I went on to study museums and work for English Heritage caring for their collection. Later I moved to Edinburgh and this is where I trained with George Jameison the taxidermist in Cramond.

‘Taxidermy is another form of replication – endeavouring to mimic life in its most still form. 

‘It’s an intricate  and complex art of removing a skin, studying and rebuilding body  forms and repositioning the treated skin over the sculpted body/ head. 

‘My training in taxidermy has helped me to understand the anatomy of animals which is useful when building, for instance, a roast-sucking pig or goose for a banquet display.’

Now, for the first time, Kerry is inviting the public into her studio in Kirkcudbright where she works with her daughter Primrose.

Together they are creating the UK’s first, Fake Food Store – complete with Victorian counters and display cupboards – as part of this year’s Spring Fling.

Spring Fling, from 25-27 May, is Scotland’s premier open studios weekend with a record 104 participants taking part across Dumfries and Galloway.

Kerry, whose studio overlooks Kirkcudbright’s fishing harbour, started her business on her kitchen table during the pandemic, and was partly inspired by a classic book.

‘I had bought a copy of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management and loved the lithographs of all the dishes she made – I thought it would be fun to see if I could recreate some of them,’ she said.

‘Then I was looking at similar things online and thought that perhaps I could make things and sell them. I started a little online store and the orders just started to come in. 

‘And they were from all over the world.’

Last year Kerry saw her raspberry ripple ice creams take a starring role in the opening beach scenes of the Hollywood blockbuster Barbie.

And recently she was recently asked to create a jelly with a replica gun inside for a party thrown by the makers of hit Netflix series The Gentlemen.

She counts Disney as customers, as well as the Guggenheim Museum, The Royal Worcester Museum, The National Trust for Scotland, Jo Malone, The Royal Lyceum Theatre, and Heinz.

‘I got a call from Warner Bros who had seen my ice cream products,’ Kerry said.

It was exciting to tell my children that I’d sent some products out to the Barbie film. They went to the cinema to see the film with fake ice creams.

‘I also had the chance to make a selection of work for the Netflix premiere of The Gentleman

‘Inca Productions asked for a gun in a jelly and various pies and cheeses. 

‘The encapsulated gun in jelly was challenging to make, being cast in resin in various pours, but it worked well in the end and they were delighted.’  

Shops, stately homes, museums, restaurants, theme parks and many other businesses all find her fake food irresistible. And it’s increasingly popular with the public too – making quirky and attractive home decorations.

Sometimes the most complicated things to make are the simple things, Kerry said.

‘For instance a cucumber sandwich. The bread needs to look light and bouncy. The cream cheese needs to be smooth and well, creamy and the cucumbers should look fresh. 

‘Working out how to combine textures successfully is one of the biggest challenges.  

‘Depending on the product we often take silicone moulds of real food and then cast them in resins, clays or jesmonite.’

Elsewhere Spring Fling visitors can see everything from paintings, sculptures, photography and original prints to metalwork, furniture, jewellery and textiles.

The weekend is a chance to meet artists and makers working in a remarkable array of studios from farmhouses to painted caravans and explore one of Scotland’s loveliest rural regions.

Joanna Jones, Upland Assistant Director, said: ‘Kerry’s fake food shop really underlines what an astonishing range of artists and makers we have here in Dumfries and Galloway.’


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