Daily Mini Interview: Miniature Sculptures by Willard Wigan

Micro Sculptures by Famed Artist Willard Wigan MBE

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How did you first get started in micro sculptures? Were you always drawn to miniatures?

camelsAt school I suffered from a learning difference. This resulted in me being criticized for not being as able as the other students. Whilst I played truant, which sadly was quite often, I submersed myself into a world of miniatures. I was fascinated by ants, not knowing where they lived. This was the catalyst to me making houses, furniture and playing objects for ants.

How has your work evolved over the years?

I have been creating micro sculptures for 50 years. My work has evolved from its very rudimentary form when I first started. Over the years, experience coupled with more advanced microscopic equipment has allowed my work to become smaller and more detailed.Hummingbird

For a time, I did carve large objects, life size out of wood, but it has always been the micro sculptures that has been my signature.

What materials do you use to make your miniature sculptures? 

Materials vary depending on the piece I am working on. But common materials are gold, glass, Kevlar, nylon and cable tie.

Describe your process.

Usually I create the sculpture, then place it into the eye of the needle, or onto the head of a pin. I work mainly with one high powered microscope, but the control comes from my hands as I work in between pulse and heart beats.

Advice for beginner artists?

Perseverance and dedication. If at first it goes wrong, which it will, keep trying.

273272_last_supper_eFINALTool you can’t live without?

I make my own tools, which vary depending on the piece I am creating. So, it’s not a matter of living without a particular tool. It’s more a case of creating and fitting each tool to create each piece of work.

Favorite work of art you own by another artist?

I don’t have any other artists’ work at my home. In fact, I do not even display my own work after creating it.

Most treasured micro sculpture you’ve created?Prince-Albert-Copy

The Last Supper, because of the time it took to create, the microscopic intricate detail in the piece, and its symbolism.

What has proven to be the most difficult sculpture to create?

Probably the Prince Albert. The necessity to ensure the horse was perfectly and equally proportioned from its head to its hooves and tail. Then, to ensure that Prince Albert was perfectly placed into the saddle with his boots into the stirrups. Whilst the completed piece might not look as difficult as some of my other creations, it was actually probably the most difficult.Coronation-Crown

Artists you look to for inspiration?

Michelangelo and Leonardo di Vinci are artists who I take inspiration from. I can take several months to create a piece. These masters could take years. Their dedication and perseverance should be an inspiration to any artist.

Why micro-sculptures? What appeals to you most about what you do?

Why, as I said before, it stems from my early childhood years. The appeal—it’s not the creating the work, because this is painstaking. The satisfaction comes when I finish a piece and then watching people’s reactions when they place their eyes for the first time over the microscope to view the work.GF02w_ARTPIECE1_Or_Gris_CloseUp_A4_RGB

Tell us a bit about your collaboration with Greubel Forsey.

Watches by the Swiss company Greubel Forsey are perhaps the most bespoke in the world. After 4 years of research and development, they have created a timepiece housing a built-in microscope to view one of my art pieces. This is all encompassed inside a fully functional Greubel Forsey timepiece. It is quite remarkable how they have achieved this.


Upcoming exhibitions or projects planned?

A documentary about my work is being shown on Channel 4 on Sunday, July 8, and I have a new exhibition starting July 6 at Broadway Museum and Art Gallery.

Further exhibitions of my work, both in the UK and overseas, are being planned for 2019. In January 2018, I was humbled to receive an honorary doctorate from The University of Warwick and am greatly looking forward to working with this world-class university on a number of exciting projects.

What other hobbies do you enjoy?Golden-Harley

To relax I listen to music, Motown being my preferred choice. As for hobbies, I enjoy combat types of sport such as boxing or UFC.

What do you want miniature fans to know about you?

I am affiliated to 3 principal charities. The Nelson Mandela Children’s charity, the Siegfried and Roy animal charity and the less know but no less important Adenium Foundation, which seeks to give children a positive start in life via personal development and education.

Willard Wigan MBE’s work in micro sculpture continues to astound after 50 years. To see more of his microscopic creations, visit his website today. You may also wish to follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Daily Mini Interview: Miniature Designs by Tom Lynall

Tom Lynall’s Miniature Jewelry Designs and Pencil Carvings 

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10453087_739859586055450_4850438126037476385_oTell us a bit about your background in jewelry design.

I have wanted to be a jeweler for my entire life; since I was about 4 specifically. I never really wanted to do anything else or experiment with anything career-wise. My dad’s a jeweler and he would take me to his shop, give me little jobs to do when I was a kid. I’ve loved it ever since then. I left school at age sixteen to immediately start training with another jeweler. After a few years, I left that jeweler, and would frequent my dad’s shop to create tiny models for fun. Eventually, I became qualified to work alongside my father, and I can officially say I’ve been a jeweler for twelve years now.

What’s your earliest memory with miniatures?

I can remember when I was four, I was given the duty to sort stones out by color. I enjoyed sorting through sapphires, emeralds, rubies, and more.10687036_906926426015431_58747239304539151_n

How did you get started with miniature pencil carvings? 

At first, I would see pictures of pencil carving sculptures on Facebook as well as around the Internet. On the 30th of November last year, I thought I would give it a go myself. My first pencil carving was a little red heart, which I made purely because I had found a red pencil.

Do you have a favorite carving?

I created a Batman vs. Superman carving, I guess that could be considered my “favorite” since everything seemed to fall into place just perfectly for that one in a rapid amount of time.

Do you keep all your carvings? 

I do keep all of my carvings, apart from a few which I have given away to people. I do not do these for money or anything, but for my own leisure.

10525682_739859022722173_5751603696795488200_nAnd do you have a favorite work of jewelry?

I had made a ghostship that was being attacked by a giant squid. It was a model that I had entered into a Goldsmiths competition a few years back. This piece resonates with me because it marked the first time I had ever had my work compared to others. It was also really cool because I won a Senior Modelmaker silver award, which was really special since I only made the model for a bit of fun.

How has your work with jewelry design evolved over the years?

When I had started experimenting with Discworld models, I eventually began to branch out and create more detailed pieces. I’m currently working on a commission which I can say has definitely been the biggest thing I have ever worked on: taking up over six months of my life.

gold-hare.94c92a60dfa58106b59084f52e50a8371What’s a unique material you’ve used in one of your jewelry designs?

The most unique tool or material I’ve resorted to using was one of my eyelashes, which was effectively used as a paintbrush to paint a miniature stained-glass lantern.

Technique you can’t live without?

When I am doing carvings, my hands need to remain in a certain position for the process to take place. I brace my blade in a certain way to hold the pencil, so that both of my hands are braced and only the blade moves to carve most efficiently. It’s steadier opposed to your hands moving backwards and forwards when they are not braced tight enough and holding the pencil in place.

10523530_740129259361816_4731228867917513303_nWhat inspires you?

Mostly, it is seeing other things that peers make. Also, whenever someone throws out an idea that something cannot be done, it pushes me that extra bit to give it a go and see what may come of it. Willard Wigan is my favorite artist hands-down. And a recent friend.

What is the most memorable miniature you have ever seen?

The most memorable miniature I have come across has to have been something from Willard Wigan’s work. It is just nuts to say the least, in a good way. His fairy on a toadstool in particular is probably my favorite that he has done.

small-knife-fork.94c92a60dfa58106b59084f52e50a8371What appeals to you most about your work with jewelry design and pencil carvings?

It’s my passion, it’s not work. It could be classified as more of a hobby, really. I just enjoy making pieces and seeing what I can come up with using my imagination and my own two hands.  I’m very lucky to be in my position. I enjoy being there to lend a helping hand to a friend who may have some broken jewelry, or need something constructed as a gift for a loved one. Not to mention, it’s a huge honor to make engagement rings for couples, truly.

What’s to come from Tom Lynall?

I am on a commission at the moment–the details of which I cannot fully disclose–but I can say it will be ready by April 2016. It will truly be one-of-a-kind, and by far the most complex piece I have ever worked on. After the commission is finished, I will be primarily focusing on projects for my own interest.

Months later, I went on to complete the 1,000 heart project, which you can learn more about here: http://www.1000heartcollection.com.

small-hate.94c92a60dfa58106b59084f52e50a8371Other activities you enjoy?

I’m quite amused by juggling; it can serve as an excellent stress reliever when I need a quick break. For the past 12 years, I have done a form of gymnastics called tricking. In my spare time, Super Mario is always a fun alternative.

What do you want miniature enthusiasts to know about you?

The biggest point I’d like to get across is I don’t do what I do for profit. I find it intrinsically fulfilling. I do it for my own personal satisfaction, which to me is a much better catalyst for any artistic motivation.

Tom Lynall is a specialist bespoke jewelry manufacturer located in Birmingham’s prestigious Jewellery Quarter. Having been in the industry for over a decade, Thomas has produced high quality sliver, gold and platinum pieces to the highest quality. To see more of his jewelry designs or miniature carvings, visit his website, Facebook or Instagram.