Sculptor creates tiny golden dragon
A renowned micro-sculptor has created a miniature golden dragon as “a symbol of strength” to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
Willard Wigan, from Birmingham, hand-crafted a red-eyed dragon made from a single piece of gold smaller than the head of a matchstick.
He used microscopic hardened steel to shape the waves of the mystical creature, and it took four months to complete.
Mr Wigan, 66, told the PA news agency: “I did it to celebrate (Lunar New Year). It can be there as a celebration and as a symbol of strength, resilience and determination.”
The creature is apt as the Lunar New Year, which falls on February 10, will celebrate the Year of the Dragon.
Mr Wigan admits his latest creation is “the hardest thing I’ve ever done” and has no intention of recreating this piece.
“I will never attempt that again because it was a nightmare to do,” he explained.
“It took me four months of hard work trying to get it right because I failed a few times.
“To me, that’s like climbing to the top of the mountain and then climbing up again.”
Despite disliking the process, he says he finds enjoyment in creating pieces of art that people can admire.
He said: “There was no pleasure in creating this dragon. But the pleasure is when I finish it.
“That’s because I’m not working for myself. I’m working for other people to see it.”
His work is so small he said he must work between his heartbeats and control his breathing to avoid any disturbance that might ruin his work.
“You have to hold your breath to do it. Between your heartbeat, you’re bending and twisting and you’re manipulating the shape,” he said
The micro-sculptor said he did not use a reference picture to make the dragon, but instead used his photographic memory of the mythical creature to create an original design.
He explained: “I started to cut the shape of the dragon out and this is not using any photographs whatsoever. This is just me working from my mind.”
Mr Wigan, who was made an MBE for services to art in 2007, has been creating microscopic sculptures since the age of five when he began crafting houses for ants.
Being his most challenging piece to date, he said he wanted to prove to himself he could make the intricate creation.
“I’ve got to the stage in my career when I thought, ‘I’m nearly at my peak, so I might as well attempt this dragon’,” he said.
“I was going to attempt it about four years ago, but I thought no, I’m not ready.
“I wanted to evolve to be at my peak to be able to do (the dragon) justice. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.”
Mr Wigan said the exclusive piece, which he described as “the best thing and the hardest thing I’ve ever done”, will be open to private viewings.
He hopes his piece will remind people of the value of handmade creations.
“Let people understand what the human spirit is capable of doing by hand,” he said.
Published: by Radio NewsHub