Making Microscopic Art
Having a special educational need does not mean you can’t have a great future! Dr Willard Wigan MBE overcame negative attitudes to become the world’s greatest micro-sculptor!
“If anyone ever tells you that you are no good or will amount to nothing, do not believe them. You were born to be amazing not to be nothing. Believe in yourself and always see the little things, because little things can have a big impact”
Who am I?
I am Willard Wigan, creator of the world smallest handmade sculptures in history.
As a young boy I found both reading and writing did not come naturally to me. At that time autism and learning difficulties were not well recognised. I was told by my school teachers that I would amount to nothing and would achieve nothing. I was used to demonstrate what failure would look like for being unable to read or write.
So from the age of 5, I decided to show the world that nothing did exist and nothing really does matter. I began to carve and sculpt my own world, one that could not be seen by others for fear of yet more criticism.
Upon seeing my work my mother often told me that the smaller I made things the bigger my name would become. She would often tell me that my work wasn’t small enough and that I should try again. This inspired me to make things increasingly smaller.
Working with tiny instruments to create teeny tiny art meant I needed to learn great self-discipline. I had to learn how to control my movements, slow my breathing and lower my heart rate enough to be able to work between the pulse beats. I use materials that you can’t see and paint with eyelash tips and dog hairs. Now I can make things in beautiful detail often smaller than a full stop in a newspaper, within the eyes of needles or upon the heads of pins.
In 2007 the boy who was told he would amount to ‘nothing’ was honored by HRH Queen Elizabeth II with an MBE for services to art. Then in 2018 I received an honorary doctorate from the University of Warwick in recognition of the significant contributions that I have made to art and sculpture. I have also achieved two Guinness World Records, travelled the globe exhibiting my work, been the subject of TV documentaries and Radio shows and made sculptures for many celebrities.
Scientists have been unable to explain my dexterity and I have been invited by leading brain surgeons to consider if my skills are trainable and transferable to surgical procedures.
Who knows where this all will lead, but of one thing I am certain, with self-determination and a positive belief in myself, I have achieved far more than the nothing I had been told I would be from a young age.