Pencil is a tool used basically for writing or drawing. Pencils are encased in wood. They are made of a mixture of clay and graphite and their darkness varies from light grey to black. Pencils are available in various attractive designs and colours, but the inside part of pencil is the same which is called graphite or lead. Can you think of any other use of lead?
Dalton Ghetti is a 45-year-old Bridgeport resident who has been carving sculptures into pencil lead, without the aid of a magnifying glass, for 25 years. He has about a dozen works that have been framed and almost as many waiting to be mounted for display. He has created a line of 26 pencils, with each letter of the alphabet carved into the tip. His current projects include a handsaw and a single rice-grain-sized teardrop for every victim of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Anyone who has seen a completed work won’t be surprised to hear that a project will take a decade. Mr. Ghetti often takes years to complete pieces, especially since pencil carving is only a hobby, along with camping and coaching volleyball at the Westport Y.M.C.A. He sells postcards and posters of his art (pieces are not for sale), but his main income comes from carpentry.
Mr. Ghetti started carving tree bark when he was a child and experimented with everything from soap to chalk before settling on graphite. It’s second nature now, and for 90 percent of his work, all he needs is a sewing needle, a razor blade and a carpenter’s or No. 2 pencil.
“The pencil tip is great; it’s like a pure, very homogenous material,” he said. “It cuts in the same direction, not like wood, which has a grain. But when I tell people how long it takes, that’s when they don’t believe it. That’s what amazes people more, the patience. Because everything nowadays has to be fast, fast, fast.”
“At school Dalton always sharpened pencils by hand, and would sometimes peel the paint from the pencil and carve intricate designs into the wood. He noticed that a good blade cuts through both the wood and through the graphite, leaving behind a nice flat and shiny surface. He began working on them until they were perfectly round and cone shaped, then removed more wood as the graphite started to become part of the carvings. He had found the perfect material for his miniature sculptures.”
Read more at 'NY Times': Finding the Art in a Pencil Tip