Creative Pencil Sharpening: The Sculptures of Dalton Ghetti

To the naked eye, these pencil sculptures are so intricate that you may need the help of a macro lens to capture the details. Yet the sculptor, Dalton Ghetti, doesn’t use any magnifying device when he carves them!

Unlike most of us who stick to rotary sharpeners for an invariable pointed pencil tip, Dalton Ghetti sharpened pencils with a pocket knife, as early as 6 years old, growing up in São Paulo, Brazil. Even then he liked etching a pencil with a friend’s name, then giving it as a present. At 9 years old, he was already making his own toys. He went on to sculpt with mixed materials using hammer, knives, and chisel.

But eventually he returned to the wonder of small things, challenging himself to sculpt his childhood favorite, the pencil. Today his sculpting tools are a reminder of the tools of his parents’ trade, as well as tools given by his parents–sewing needle, blade, sculpting knife.

Dalton Ghetti Pencil Sculptures, via MSN (Photos by Sloan Howard)Chain, by Dalton Ghetti

Dalton Ghetti Pencil Sculptures, via MSN (Photos by Sloan Howard)

Dalton Ghetti Pencil Sculptures, via MSN (Photos by Sloan Howard)

Peace, by Dalton Ghetti

Dalton Ghetti Pencil Sculptures, via MSN (Photos by Sloan Howard)

Ted’s Cabin, by Dalton Ghetti

Dalton Ghetti Pencil Sculptures, via MSN (Photos by Sloan Howard)

Comb, by Dalton Ghetti

Dalton Ghetti Pencil Sculptures, via MSN (Photos by Sloan Howard)

‘Screw’ and ‘Giraffe’, by Dalton Ghetti

Behind-Bars-Dalton-Ghetti

Behind Bars, by Dalton Ghetti

Dalton Ghetti Pencil Sculptures, via MSN (Photos by Sloan Howard)

Pencil Pencil, by Dalton Ghetti

Dalton Ghetti Pencil Sculptures, via MSN (Photos by Sloan Howard)

Forked, by Dalton Ghetti

 

Dalton Ghetti Pencil Sculptures, via MSN (Photos by Sloan Howard)

Church, by Dalton Ghetti

Pencil Sculptures, Miniature Masterpieces Carved Into Graphite by Dalton Ghetti

Saw, by Dalton Ghetti

Pencil Sculptures, Miniature Masterpieces Carved Into Graphite by Dalton Ghetti

Mailbox, by Dalton Ghetti

Pencil Sculptures, Miniature Masterpieces Carved Into Graphite by Dalton Ghetti

Pencil Sculptures, Miniature Masterpieces Carved Into Graphite by Dalton Ghetti

Forever Linked, by Dalton Ghetti

Pencil Sculptures, Miniature Masterpieces Carved Into Graphite by Dalton Ghetti

Goblet, by Dalton Ghetti

Pencil Sculptures, Miniature Masterpieces Carved Into Graphite by Dalton Ghetti

Elvis, by Dalton Ghetti

Pencil Sculptures, Miniature Masterpieces Carved Into Graphite by Dalton Ghetti

Chair, by Dalton Ghetti

Pencil Sculptures, Miniature Masterpieces Carved Into Graphite by Dalton Ghetti

Button, by Dalton Ghetti

Pencil Sculptures, Miniature Masterpieces Carved Into Graphite by Dalton Ghetti

Boot, by Dalton Ghetti

Pencil Sculptures, Miniature Masterpieces Carved Into Graphite by Dalton Ghetti

Hanging Heart, by Dalton Ghetti

Pencil Sculptures, Miniature Masterpieces Carved Into Graphite by Dalton Ghetti

Alphabet, by Dalton Ghetti

Pencil Sculptures, Miniature Masterpieces Carved Into Graphite by Dalton Ghetti

Cemetery, a collection of broken pieces, by Dalton Ghetti

Large-scale works may make us look up in wonder. But Ghetti’s pencil sculptures make us stop and look closer. Each of these masterpieces is a cheering reinvention, for each was once a discarded pencil, chewed up, found on the streets and sidewalks of Ghetti’s daily walks.

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Then there is the care and affection infused in each piece. He still gives these pencil sculptures as presents. Never sells them. But museums and galleries increasingly showcase his work. He works in 2-hour intervals every day, shaping the graphite by specks at a time, in between his profession work as an architect. His most intricate piece is  “Chain”, which took two and a half years to create.

Imagine how unnerving it must be, the closer he gets to finishing, for anything more than the lightest touch is sure to break the stripped lead. Ghetti has made a mini-gallery of these almost-sculptures, called the “Cemetery Collection”.

His latest masterpiece is “3,000 Tears”,  finished in 2011, a tribute to all who died in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Its very construction is a 10-year process of crafting 3,000 individual teardrops from pencil graphite. One cannot glance at this work without conceiving the days and hours and years the sculptor devoted, and thus the magnitude of the history it represents. How a work so miniature could evoke so encompassing a voice is the distinction that is Dalton Ghetti.