Willard Wigan’s Micro-Sculptures: Working In Between Your Heartbeats

by Parin

“Just because you can’t see something,
doesn’t mean it’s not there.”
- Willard Wigan

Bart and Homer Simpson

Bart and Homer Simpson ©Willard Wigan Limited

If I gave you a nylon tag from a shirt, a small needle, and a fly’s hair, and asked you to create a sculpture, you might look at me like I’m crazy.

But not Willard Wigan.
These are actually the tools of his trade as a Micro Sculptor.

In fact, that’s what he used to create the Bart and Homer Simpson sculpture you see on the left.

Oh, and he created it on a pin-head, under a microscope. :)

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As a dyslexic child growing up in England, Willard Wigan had more than his fair share of academic challenges. And it’s these challenges that led him to an entirely new world.

A world, which is often unseen by us.

“I started making houses for ants because I thought they needed somewhere to live. Then I made them shoes and hats. It was a fantasy world I escaped to where my dyslexia didn’t hold me back and my teachers couldn’t criticize me. That’s how my career as a micro-sculptor began.”
- Willard Wigan

We often get busy with our daily routines, not taking notice to what wonders surround us. We sometimes forget that even the smallest thing, can have the biggest impact.

And Willard reminds us of that. It’s something he was taught early on in life by his mother, and it’s had a lasting impact on him.

“My work is — it’s a reflection of myself. What I wanted to do is to show the world that the little things can be the biggest things. We all seem to think that you know, if we look down on the ground, there’s nothing there.

And we use the word “nothing.” Nothing doesn’t exist. Because there is always something. My mother told me that, when I was a child, that I should always respect the little things.”
- Willard Wigan

In his brilliant 2009 TEDTalk (watch below), Willard explains how he literally, works in between his heartbeats, to create some of the most stunning sculptures, you’ll ever see.

“And then I actually slow down my whole nervous system. And then I work between my heartbeats. I have one-and-a-half seconds to actually move. And at the same time I have to watch I don’t inhale my own work, at the same time. Because that has happened to me.”
- Willard Wigan

From creating little Ant Apartments on a pinhead, to creating a miniature sculpture representing The Obama Family in the eye of a needle (see below), to creating the Statue of Liberty in the eye of a needle (see bottom right), Willard’s brilliant microscopic art is awe-inspiring.

The Obama Family

The Obama Family ©Willard Wigan Limited

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty ©Willard Wigan Limited

Imagine using wood splinters, broken shards of glass, spider’s web and strands of glue as tools for sculpting?

Imagine the level of Focus required, to work, in between, your heartbeats?

The Patience required, to sharpen the end of a very small needle, into a blade?

And the Steadiness required, to ensure, like he said, you don’t inhale your own work?

If there’s anything we can learn from Willard Wigan, it’s this:
The Power of The Mind & The Power of Focus, are not to be underestimated.

“Willard’s work is described as ‘the eighth wonder of the world’.”
- From Willard’s About Page

This is one TEDTalk you definitely don’t want to miss! :)


[Video Source: Willard Wigan: Hold your breath for micro-sculpture]

What do you think of Willard’s brilliant and inspiring talent?

Share your comments in the comments section below. I’d love to hear about your experiences and your opinions.

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