(This essay is one in a series of posts reviewing my favorite websites. Even though I don’t spend a lot of time surfing the Internet, I do have a file on my computer entitled “Random Cool Stuff.” Within that file are bookmarked Internet sites, an odd collection of webpages, among the millions of possibilities that tickled my fancy, intrigued me, or led me in a whole new direction.)
There are two things about myself that I know for sure: First, I am not a detail-oriented person, and second, I like projects that can be completed within a reasonable amount of time. Of course, because of these two traits in myself, I am inexplicably drawn to impossibly detail-oriented, time-consuming art done by people who are the exact opposite of me.
One of those people is Dalton Ghetti. He does something that perhaps no one else in the world does–he creates incredibly intricate carvings on the tip of a pencil with nothing more than a razor blade, sewing needle, and small sculpting knife. He doesn’t even use a magnifying glass.
Ghetti, a carpenter by trade, often spends anywhere from months to years on a single creation. “When I tell people how long it takes, that’s when they don’t believe it,” said Ghetti in an interview with the New York Times. “That’s what amazes people more, the patience. Because everything nowadays has to be fast, fast, fast.”
Originally from Brazil, Ghetti began carving pencils over twenty-five years ago, yet he has never sold any of them, he only gives them away as gifts to friends.
But carving on the tip of a pencil can be nerve-wracking. Ghetti says that he used to become more and more nervous as he neared completing a piece. “It would drive me mad when I would be just a bit too heavy-handed and the pencil’s tip would break.” He came up with the idea of “the cemetery collection,” a display of projects that broke. “I decided to change the way I thought about the work–when I started a new piece my attitude would be ‘well this will break eventually but let’s see how far I get.’ It helped me break fewer pencils.”
Ghetti doesn’t have a website of his own, but rumor has it he’s creating one soon. To see more of his work, just google Dalton Ghetti, and scroll through a number of articles and images featuring his carved pencil art.
What Dalton Ghetti does with pencils, Hina Aoyama does with paper. Born in Japan and currently living in France, Aoyama creates the most beautiful, intricate papercutting around.
Her work is described as super fine, lacy papercutting that mixes traditional and modern themes.
Whereas most papercutters use Exacto knives to execute their fine cuts, Aoyama uses nothing but a pair of small, very sharp scissors. One online admirer commented that she must have hands as steady as a surgeon.
There is little information about this award-winning artist, and she, like Ghetti, lacks a website featuring her work. Perhaps they are too occupied with their labor-intensive creations to muck around on the Internet. Regardless, if you google Hina Aoyama, you will be rewarded with even more images of her amazing papercutting art.
If you are interested in giving papercutting a whirl, I recommend the following excellent beginning papercutting books. (Yes, even though I don’t have the patience for it, I HAD to try it!): Creative Paper Cutting edited by Sufunotomo and Paper Cuts by Taylor Hagerty. If you are interested in pencil carving, more power to you, you’re on your own.