Page last updated at 12:41 GMT, Friday, 26 March 2010

Sculptor carves Gloucestershire church in sand grain

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Micro sculptor Willard Wigan has created a model of a Gloucestershire church on a grain of sand.

An artist has sculpted a church in Gloucestershire from a grain of sand and mounted it in the eye of a needle.

Willard Wigan MBE specialises in micro sculptures and was challenged by his girlfriend to recreate her local church - St Bartholomew's in Chosen Hill.

The 53-year-old used a minute shard of diamond to chisel the sand and an eyelash to brush the debris away.

Mr Wigan, whose work has to be viewed through a microscope, is considering auctioning the model for charity.

He took the grain of sand from the churchyard itself and carved the model from memory.

His girlfriend Rachel Slade said: "I kept taunting him and getting him to do it.

"One day, I came up to his house and he said, 'Rachel, I've got something to show you'.

"I looked under the microscope. [It was] absolutely fantastic."

The real St Bartholomew's church
Mr Wigan used a grain of sand from the actual churchyard

The vicar of St Bartholomew's, the Reverend Jonathan Perkin, said he thought the sculpture was beautiful.

"I thought it was very fitting because the Christian story is a wonderful love story about a God who is so big and yet became micro in the person of Jesus and came to love us," he said.

Mr Wigan, from Birmingham, discovered his skill after struggling to cope with dyslexia as a child, but said he found encouragement from his mother.

"She said you 'can't read, you can't write well, but the smaller your work, the bigger your name will come," he said.

Mr Wigan has exhibited his work around the world, but is still not happy with what he has achieved.

"As small as what you've seen, it's not the best of me yet," he said.

"I'm taking it even smaller because I'm not satisfied with my work right now, it's too big."



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