Artist Makes Micro-Miniature Sculptures So Small They Fit on the Head of a Pin

The jury remains out as to the num­ber of angels that can dance on a pin, but self-taught artist Flor Car­va­jal is amass­ing some data regard­ing the num­ber of itty bit­ty sculp­tures that can be installed on the tips of match­sticks, pen­cil points, and — thanks to a rude encounter with a local reporter — in the eye of a nee­dle.

Accord­ing to Tucson’s Mini Time Machine Muse­um of Minia­tures, where her work is on dis­play through June, The Van­guardia Lib­er­al was con­sid­er­ing run­ning an inter­view in con­junc­tion with an exhib­it of her Christ­mas-themed minia­tures. When she wouldn’t go on record as to whether any of the itty-bit­ty nativ­i­ty scenes she’d been craft­ing for over a decade could be described as the world’s small­est, the reporter hung up on her.

Rather than stew, she imme­di­ate­ly start­ed exper­i­ment­ing, switch­ing from Sty­ro­foam to syn­thet­ic resin in the pur­suit of increas­ing­ly minis­cule manger scenes.

By sun­rise, she’d man­aged to place the Holy Fam­i­ly atop a lentil, a grain of rice, the head of a nail, and the head of a pin.

These days, most of her micro-minia­ture sculp­tures require between 2 and 14 days of work, though she has been labor­ing on a mod­el of Apol­lo 11 for over a year, using only a mag­ni­fy­ing glass and a nee­dle, which dou­bles as brush and carv­ing tool.

In a vir­tu­al artist’s chat last month, she empha­sizes that a calm mind, steady hands, and breath con­trol are impor­tant things to bring to her work­bench.

Open win­dows can lead to nat­ur­al dis­as­ter. The odds of recov­er­ing a work-in-progress that’s been knocked to the floor are close to nil, when said piece is ren­dered in 1/4” scale or small­er.

Reli­gious themes pro­vide ongo­ing inspi­ra­tion — a recent achieve­ment is a 26 x 20 mil­lime­ter recre­ation of Leonar­do da Vinci’s Last Sup­per — but she’s also drawn to sub­jects relat­ing to her native Colum­bia, like Goran­chacha, the son the Muis­ca Civ­i­liza­tion’s Sun God, and Juan Valdez, the fic­tion­al rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the nation­al cof­fee grow­ers fed­er­a­tion.

See more of  Flor Carvajal’s micro-minia­tures on her Insta­gram.

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

Cook­ing with Wool: Watch Mouth­wa­ter­ing Tiny Woolen Food Ani­ma­tions

Watch Tee­ny Tiny Japan­ese Meals Get Made in a Minia­ture Kitchen: The Joy of Cook­ing Mini Tem­pu­ra, Sashi­mi, Cur­ry, Okonomiya­ki & More

The Grue­some Doll­house Death Scenes That Rein­vent­ed Mur­der Inves­ti­ga­tions

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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