Artist used eyelash to paint puppy sculpture in the eye of a needle

Willard Wigan worked 16-18 hours a day over a two-month period, using gaps between his own heartbeat to create the artwork.

02 October 2022

A renowned sculptor used an eyelash as a paintbrush when creating a miniature puppy figure in the eye of a needle, to raise money for Guide Dogs.

Willard Wigan MBE, who is one of the judges on Channel 4’s The Great Big Tiny Design Challenge, worked 16-18 hours a day over a two-month period, working between heartbeats, to create the artwork.

Mr Wigan created the the tiny puppy sculpture, called Daniel, using a broken piece of porcelain dinner plate – chipping away at it using a minute piece of diamond and painting it using an eyelash.

Willard Wigan
Willard Wigan (Guide Dogs/PA)

He even made the whiskers for the intricate sculpture from the fibres found floating in rays of sunlight and said the creation represents “people that may feel unseen”.

Mr Wigan said: “The eye of a needle is difficult to thread, you really have to try hard to see what you are doing and you have to look closely to see Daniel.

“Just because you can’t see it straight away, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

“People with sight difficulties are not unseen, we all possess talents that sometimes aren’t recognised until discovered and shared.”

As a schoolboy, Mr Wigan, who has autism, struggled with reading and writing and said he was told by teachers he would “amount to nothing”.

It was after discovering his talent for microscopic art that he decided to “show the world that small things matter”.

“It’s sometimes the small things that matter the most and can leave the biggest impact on our lives,” Mr Wigan said.

“Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean you can’t feel it, or be inspired by it.”

The puppy sculpture was named Daniel after he was inspired by a fundraiser he met in a coffee shop in Birmingham.

“I was so motivated and moved by what Daniel was saying about helping and supporting visually impaired people,” Mr Wigan said.

“This resonated with my own story of feeling unseen and my work needing optical help to be able to make it and view it.

“I knew that I just had to partner with Guide Dogs and create a tiny micro sculpture as a homage to all their hard work and shine a light on to this amazing charity.”

Sculpture in the eye of a needle
Willard Wigan’s sculpture will be put up for sale in October (Guide Dogs/PA)

A 14-week-old yellow Labrador puppy, born in June, has been named Daniel in honour of Mr Wigan’s sculpture.

It is hoped the real-life puppy will go on to become a guide dog for someone living with sight loss.

Mr Wigan’s sculpture will be put up for sale this October and 100% of the proceeds will go towards the Guide Dogs charity appeal.

For more information and to support the Guide Dogs appeal, visit: www.guidedogs.org.uk/guide-dogs-appeal/.

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