Some of you who are artists may have created pieces to hang in what are called "small works" shows. Those six-inch-by-six-inch paintings or eight-inch-tall sculptures would loom like giant Sequoia over the super-miniature and microscopic work created by other artists...and scientists and engineers.
If you haven't seen work like this before, you may not believe your eyes. Above and below are two short videos of micro-art. The first is of pieces carved into the lead (or graphite) of pencils by a Brazilian artist named Dalton Ghetti. His works may not qualify as "micro," but they are best appreciated with a magnifying glass. The second video shows the work of British artist Willard Wigan, who carves and paints sculptures that literally fit in the eye of a sewing needle. He carves them from grains of sand, using things like hairs and spider webbing as tools and paint brushes.
It's worth noting that as a child Willard Wigan suffered from dyslexia and learning difficulties. He found joy in miniature art. “It began when I was five years old," he has said. "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 criticise me. That’s how my career as a microsculptor began.”
Scientists and engineers have delved into a world of even tinier microsculpture as part of developing new technology. Engineers in Japan used lasers to carve into plastic a 3-D bull the size of a blood cell. South Korean scientists used similar technique to carve a micro version of Rodin's sculpture The Thinker. IBM engineers in Switzerland used nano-sized needles to create one-to-five-billion scale version of the Matterhorn.
Photographer Kaito Takahasi didn't create the apparent micro-sculpture of a toilet shown below; he just took a picture of it after finding it on an integrated circuit. Takahasi takes photos through an electron microscope, which for serious close-up shots puts a Nikon to shame.
Given that it's a presidential election year, I should add a final note that another micro-artist, John Hart, a University of Michigan engineer, has created what he calls a "nanobama." It is an image of the President's face made of 150 million nanotubes of carbon. Check it out here: http://www.nanobama.com/
Beauty in Each Grain of Sand
Thanks to Notebook friend (and brain trust member) Dina for passing along a link that fits right into this theme: Check out these close-up photos of grains of sand: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2011471/Pictures-sand-Close-photographs-reveal-incredible-beauty.html
I'll be back with the Puzzler answers and more brain teasers next time...