Pin-point sculpture of the Titanic set to sail into Belfast for miniature exhibition
Published 09/08/2007 | 12:00
This is the might of the magnificent Titanic as you have never seen it before - sitting on the tip of a pin.
As far as replicas go, this extreme miniature sculpture of the legendary White Star Liner has to be the most impressive.
Birmingham artist Willard Wigan created the 'pin' sized sculpture and it looks as though the tiny version of the Belfast-built boat will be visiting these shores soon as part of miniature exhibition.
Former England Davis Cup captain turned entrepreneur David Lloyd bought all 70 pieces of Wigan's collection and is planning to exhibit the micro sculptured art, which has been insured for a staggering £11.2m, this year.
To understand the fascination with Wigan's art - and the £11.2m insurance policy - you need to appreciate just how small these pieces truly are.
All of the sculptures - which are in complete detail - fit on either the tip of a pin or inside the eye of a needle.
The Titanic piece, which took seven weeks to complete nine years ago, sits on the point end of a needle. It is made from crushed crystal - to replicate the iceberg - and a cable tie for the vessel. Money-spider web has been used for the cables, one hair from a fly's back was used to paint the boat and all of the windows have been painted individually.
Other minuscule sculptures in the collection include Bart Simpson, the Statue of Liberty, the Lloyds of London building (which was commissioned) and Elvis Presley.
No formal dates have been set for the exhibition tour, but the artist himself has assured fans, and curious folk alike, that it will be visiting Ireland.
"We will tour Ireland," Wigan told the Belfast Telegraph. " The exhibition will be in London first and then go to the prestigious Birmingham Mailbox."
Subsequent tours of the rest of Europe, north America and Asia are also in the pipeline.
Wigan explained that even he sometimes finds it hard to get his head around the concept but when he sits down to start work, he blocks out reality and imagines that the pieces are actually normal size. He also has to go into a meditative state.
"I have to slow my whole nervous system down," he said. "I have to make sure the pulse in my finger doesn't destroy the sculpture. It's painstaking. It's not an enjoyable process but I do enjoy it when I have finished."
Wigan, who was recently awarded an MBE for services to Art, has been making miniature sculptures for more than 45 years. As a child he suffered from learning problems, since diagnosed as Dyslexia, and he was often ridiculed and "made to feel small by his teachers" because they did not understand it.
So since then he has been trying to prove to the world (and those teachers) just how miniature the things can be.
He said: "I wanted to show how small they made me feel because they made me feel like nothing, but there is something there."
And for those who are curious just how people are meant view an exhibition which is so small it can't be seen by the naked eye, Wigan has assured it is possible.
"The pieces are set in globes and people are able to view them perfectly through a microscope," he said.