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Microscopic sculptures by Willard Wigan

Willard Wigan MBE (born 1957) is a sculptor from Wolverhampton, England, who makes minute work, where a figure can be as small as 0.005mm tall. He was awarded an MBE for services to art in July 2007. He is is the only person in the world who can create what can only be described as micro art.

Willard Wigan is the creator of the world's smallest sculptures, often taking months to complete one, working between heartbeats to avoid hand tremors: "You have to control the whole nervous system, you have to work between the heartbeat - the pulse of your finger can destroy the work." Wigan uses a tiny surgical blade to carve microscopic figures out of rice, and fragments of grains of sand and sugar, which are then mounted on pinheads. To paint his creations, he uses a hair plucked from a dead fly (the fly has to have died from natural causes, as he refuses to kill them for the sake of his art). His sculptures have included a Santa Claus and a copy of the FIFA World Cup trophy, both about 0.005mm tall, and a boxing ring with Muhammad Ali figure which fits onto the head of a match.

Micro Bart Simpson
Micro Bart Simpson

Micro Dressage
Micro Dressage on a pin head

Micro Chinese Dragon
Micro Chinese Dragon
Micro World Cup
Micro World Cup

Willard can create a masterpiece within the eye of a tiny sewing needle, on the head of a pin, the tip of an eyelash or a grain of sand. Some are many times smaller than the fullstop at the end of this sentence.

Micro Elvis Presley
Micro Elvis Presley on a pinhead

Micro Gold Ship
Micro Gold Clipper Ship on a crystal

Micro Green Clown
Micro Green Clown

Micro Henry Cotton
Micro Henry Cotton

Many are even smaller still, with some being completely invisible to the naked eye yet, when viewed through high power magnification, the effect on the viewer is truly mesmerising. Willard, who is completely self-taught has baffled medical science and been the subject of discussions among micro-surgeons, nano-technologists and at universities worldwide. His work is ground-breaking, partly because of the astounding beauty of vision which challenges the belief system of the mind and partly because it demonstrates that if one person can create the impossible, we all have the potential to transcend our own limiting beliefs about what we are capable of.

Micro Lloyds of London
Micro Lloyds of London on a Pin Head

Micro Marilyn Monroe
Micro Marilyn Monroe on a Diamond

Micro Muhammad Ali vs Sonny Liston
Micro Muhammad Ali vs Sonny Liston on the head of a matchstick

Micro Peter Pan
Micro Peter Pan on a small fish hook
Micro Ship
Micro Ship

He works in total solitude at a quiet retreat in Jersey mainly at night when there is a greater sense of peace in the world and less static electricity to interfere with the immeasurable precision and tolerances required to create the pieces.

Micro Six Wives of Henry VIII
Micro Six Wives of Henry VIII in the eye of the needle

Micro String Quartet
Micro String Quartet in the eye of the needle

Micro The Statue of Liberty
Micro The Statue of Liberty in the eye of a needle

Micro The Thinker
Micro The Thinker on a pinhead

Micro Snow White
Micro Snow White in the eye of a needle

Micro The Wizard of Oz
Micro The Wizard of Oz

Micro Titanic
Micro Titanic on a glass granule on the tip of a pin

His concentration is intense when working like this and he feels mentally and physically drained at the end of it.
Wigan has said this of his work:

Though my sculptures are quite small, it's important for people to realize that I am life-size. Of course, at times, when I'm working on a piece, I might come to believe that I myself am microscopic. That's how involved in my work I become. My tiny world becomes everything to me.

A necessarily small touring exhibition of his work visited several cities in the UK in 2007 and 2008 (currently at the shop and gallery attached to the Hard Days Night Hotel in Liverpool, until 30 September 2008). The display includes a piece especially made for Liverpool's year as Capital of Culture.

Willard Wigan

Site of Willard Wigan.

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