PARTICIPATORY SPORT FOR CRAFT ARTISTS
Ah, pencils. At my house, I buy them in bulk for the kids to use for school and, apparently, for the dog to chew on. Though I keep buying huge quantities what seems to be every other week, none of them is ever in reach when I need to actually write something down. They have a habit of magically disappearing.
So I was quite surprised when I recently came upon the work of Dalton M. Ghetti, a Brazilian native who manages to carve the tiniest sculptures you can imagine right into the graphite found in pencils. Finally, pencils worth keeping around!
This is Dalton's story: At the young age of 6 already, he began to learn how to handle tools when at school in Brazil, he and the other students used either (exhale deeply now) a razor blade or a pocket knife to sharpen their pencils for drawing and writing. (OK, totally unheard of in the US these days, I know, bringing knives to school... but please, read on:)
When Dalton was 8 years old, his mother, a seamstress, taught him how to use a sewing needle to help her with simple projects like hemming and sewing buttons. At the age of 9, his parents gave him a set of metal tools for children, which he used to make his own boxes, toys and go-carts. This is when he began sculpting with knives, chisels and a hammer. Ever since, he has created many objects out of all kinds of materials.
At first, he carved large objects; but in 1986, as a challenge to himself and because of his interest in small living things, like plants (moss) and insects (spiders and ants), he decided to create the smallest possible carvings that he could see with his naked eyes. One day, he picked up a working pencil and started carving it.
Dalton's idea is to bring people’s attention to small things. Most of the pencils he uses are found on the streets and sidewalks. Dalton’s work is part of a recycling process. He happily turns discarded objects into art.
To create his sculpture, he holds the pencil in his hand under a strong light source and carves it mostly with a sewing needle and a very sharp, triangular, small, metal blade. He works at very small intervals: 1 to 2 hours maximum per day whenever he gets inspired. He works very slowly by removing specks of graphite at a time. It therefore takes months or sometimes years to complete a sculpture.
For Dalton, sculpting pencils is a hobby and a form of meditation, which requires a lot of patience. His pencil carvings are not for sale. He sculpts pencils mostly for himself. He wants to keep it that way.
You can, however, purchase his work as 4x6 postcards and some of them as larger prints thanks to his photographer Sloan Howard.
Dalton's work can currently be seen:
|Victoria and Albert Museum of London
The Power of Making
September 6, 2011 - June 2, 2012
Visit the V&A Website
New Britain Museum of American Art
Visit the NBMAA Website
Contact: Dalton M. Ghetti website
|or via fb:
All Photography provided courtesy of Sloan Howard.