Pencil Art: 50+ Sculptures Explore the Hidden Beauty of This Utilitarian Object

A pencil is usually a tool, but what happens when artists
subvert its common usage, transforming it into a medium for
sculpting instead? Extraordinary sculpting skills paired with a
steady hand and a magnifying glass make it possible to carve
amazingly tiny figures out of the pencil’s lead. Some artists
see flowers or portraits in cast-off pencil shavings, or glue
masses of the writing instruments together to sculpt and sand
them into new forms punctuated by the graphite or colored
pigments inside each pencil’s core.

Pencil Lead Carvings by Salavat Fidai






HBO Asia recently commissioned an incredible set of Game of
Thrones-themed pencil lead carvings from Russian artist
Salavat Fidai,
including the sigils of each House, a White Walker, the dragons
and the Iron Throne. It takes Fidai about 6 to 12 hours to
sculpt each one using a craft knife, a magnifying glass and a
microscope. The artist says the most challenging piece in the
collection was the throne, which took over three weeks to
perfect. Of course, the Game of Thrones pieces are just the
latest works from Fidai,
who has also carved
tiny architecture, superheroes and
other fictional characters, and much more.

Vases Made of Pencils by Studio Markunpoika




Hundreds of pencils are glued together into a solid mass and
then carved on a machine lathe to create vases and other
decorative objects, revealing the insides of the pencils.
Studio Markunpoika
describes their process: “‘Amalgamated’ is a collection which
explores the relationship of a mass produced ‘tool’ and its
individual purpose. The beauty of the pencil as an object seems
to go unnoticed if utilized only for their primary purpose.
‘Amalgamated’ is a visual and tactile investigation using
pencils as a raw material. This holistic principle has been the
fundament for creating this set of vases; let the pencils
become a thing themselves.”

Pencil Lead Carvings by Dalton Ghetti




The most impressive works by Dalton Ghetti are
undoubtedly those which turn single pencil leads into chains.
You can’t help but stare at each one for a while, wondering how
he managed to pull them off. The fact that the artist has been
refining his process since childhood might tell you a thing or
two about how he’s able to pull pieces like these off – or that
some of his pieces can take months or even years to complete.
He also carves his tiny sculptures without the aid of a
microscope or magnifying glass, using sewing needles and razor
blades.

Pencil Sculptures by Jennifer Maestre





The colorful bristling creatures of Jennifer Maestre seem to have
come from the depths of the sea, their appendages recalling the
natural shapes of urchins, anemones, coral, octopi and
jellyfish. The artist uses colored pencils as a medium for her
unusual sculptures. “The spines of the urchin, so dangerous yet
beautiful, serve as an explicit warning against contact. The
alluring texture of the spines draws the touch in spite of the
possible consequences. The tension unveiled, we feel push and
pull, desire and repulsion. The sections of pencils present
aspects of sharp and smooth for two very different textural and
aesthetic experiences. Paradox and surprise are integral in my
choice of materials.”

Pencil Lead Carvings by Cindy Chinn



Cindy Chinn takes
advantage of the length of graphite contained within a pencil,
tunnel-like inside the wood, and translates it into lines of
marching elephants or trains. Her ‘Elephant Walk’ series was
commissioned by the California-based Epiphany Elephant Museum.
Of the train piece, Chinn says “This piece was designed using
straight lead pieces for the rails, with the tiny carved train
placed and securely glued on top of the rails. The train engine
is only 3/16” of an inch tall. The pencil is 5-5/8” long and
mounted in a wood shadowbox frame as shown in the photos.”

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