If you think that a pencil is just a writing instrument and only can be used for drawing, writing, sketching, scratching measurements onto wood, updating check-books, then you’re wrong. What do you usually do with your pencil’s leftovers? Probably through them away, unless you are an artist and can create an amazing master peace. It’s definitely not about me as I don’t have such crafty hands, unless it’s the hands of Dalton Ghetti, the 49 y.o. carpenter from Connecticut, who crafts sculptures on the top of pencil leads without the aid of a magnifying glass, for 25 years. When I first saw this article some time ago in The Telegraph, I was blown away by photographs made by Solent News.
Dalton started carving tree bark when he was a child and experimented with everything from soap to chalk before settling on graphite. It’s second nature now, and for 90 percent of his work, all he needs is a sewing needle, a razor blade, a sculpting knife and a carpenter’s or No. 2 pencil.
In his interview he said: “The pencil tip is great; it’s like a pure, very homogenous material. It cuts in the same direction, not like wood, which has a grain. But when I tell people how long it takes, that’s when they don’t believe it. That’s what amazes people more, the patience. Because everything nowadays has to be fast, fast, fast.”
Pencil carving is a hobby for Mr. Ghetti and it takes him years to complete pieces. A standard figure will take several months however the alphabet carvings above took about 2.5 years! His projects include a handsaw and a single rice-grain-sized teardrop for every victim of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Mr. Ghetti has never sold any of his work, and has only given it away to friends. “It’s hard to explain but for me it’s like a sort of meditation. I’m alone with no music on in my studio and in a deep state of concentration, it’s like another mind state I float about in.”
“I use the sewing needle to make holes or dig into the graphite. I scratch and create lines and turn the graphite around slowly in my hand. Also, I never buy the pencils, my friends are always giving me them to sculpt or sometimes I use ones I find in the street.”
Dalton, who is originally from Brazil, has a box full of more than 100 sculptures that have broken while working on them that he affectionately calls ‘the cemetery collection’. Some of them he displays on a Styrofoam bed to remind him of the time spent on this almost finished works (below):
“When September 11 happened I was in tears all day and couldn’t do much for a while. I decided to make a teardrop pencil carving for each of the people who died in the attack, about 3,000. Since 2002 I have carved one every day, it takes me under an hour. When I’m done they will form one big tear drop. It will take me about 10 years but it will be worth it.”
Take a look at these stunning images of his miniature pencil art and let us know what do you think.