Talk about learning something new when you least expect it. I was cutting my fingernails about ten minutes ago, and made a rudimentary catchment for the clippings from some newspaper. As my eyes flickered from my fingers to the nail-that-might-flew-off-target, I was startled by this image.
Photo taken from Cnet article, courtesy of Willard Wigan
I thought it was some fancy visual trick, but as I read the article, I learnt that the Betty Boop sculpture housed in the eye of a needle was made by Willard Wigan, a microsculptor from Birmingham. His works cost up to a cool five-figure sum (or maybe even more), and these sculptures are collected by the likes of Prince Charles, Sir Elton John and Simon Cowell. Wigan has to work to the range of 6 to 7 microns to get the details and this for me, was astounding. I work a lot with laser microscopes, and the diameter of every cell I work with is 10-20 microns. Whenever I treat the cells with some agent and image them live, I have to have the steadiest hands to prevent them from running amok, and that means I have to hold my breath, and be painfully precise in my movements. Sounds trivial? No it’s not, I get tired from precision movement and it’s hard, hard work! So when I learnt that Wigan sculpts figures out of grains of rice, sugar, even sand and dust fibres, I was shocked. This is something that even surgeons couldn’t quite fathom. For goodness sake, this guy paints his sculptures with one strand of hair plucked from a housefly, and sometimes inhales his sculptures accidentally when he loses control and takes that one darn breath. No wonder his sculptures carry such hefty price tags.
Wigan has also made even more complicated pieces such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, The Last Supper, Alice in Wonderland at the Mad Hatter’s Party, the list goes on.
Now, I’ve gotta work some of that precision movement into my baking…micro-macarons anyone?