Black Country legend the subject of micro sculpture

Noddy Holder in a Needle by Willard Wigan MBE.


The new micro-sculpture by the internationally renowned artist Willard Wigan MBE has been photographed ahead of its launch in his birth city in Wolverhampton in March.

To celebrate life and culture in the West Midlands and Black Country, Willard decided to create a miniature sculpture of Noddy Holder which is half the size of a full stop.

‘Noddy’, which takes up half the eye of a small needle, was made using Kevlar and crushed diamond particles from Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter as its mediums. The tools used were personally manipulated and fashioned by Willard to include as a chisel, a shard of diamond, and a syringe as a style of holder.

The hair of an aphid fly was then used to finally paint micro oddy’ whilst using the claw of the fly to hold him still whilst applying the paint.

Using paint on something so small has its own particular problems, as Willard explains, “I crushed the paint for two hours to break down the molecules to get droplets of the required consistency. It is vital that one colour does not cross over into another. One drop out of place would ruin the entire piece”.

Sculpting and painting at this scale is a particularly delicate and painstaking operation, and Willard does not take pleasure in it due to the physical and mental demands it requires. It involves slowing his heartbeat and holding his breath, almost to the point of passing out. For each sculpture, he works through the night over many weeks to avoid any vibrations from traffic or disturbance. “I work in pure solitude. I do not enjoy the experience. I only enjoy it when it’s finished”.

There is a personal touch from Willard to Noddy, another Black Country legend. The buckle of his belt is made of fragments of white gold from Willard’s own chain. In response to the photograph, captured by photographer Nick Parsons with specialist camera equipment, Noddy Holder said “This is just brilliant! It’s a real honour to be sculptured, and I appreciate all the detail and painstaking work done by Willard”. He is looking forward to unveiling it at a private view and VIP launch at Light House.

The collection, which can be viewed close up with the use of enlarger displays, will also feature another Black Country legend – Prince Albert on his horse, a nod to the Man on the Horse statue which famously graces the city’s Queen Square, plus Disney characters from Pinocchio and Frozen though to The Last Supper.

The world’s greatest micro-sculptor, who was made an MBE in 2007, developed his skill since a child, as his own learning differences and teacher bullying made him withdraw into his own miniature world . Of his skill he says “I have the steadiest hand on the planet. No machine could create what I create. I’d happily take on the challenge against a machine to create a smaller sculpture.”

He jokes, “People have said I must be an alien, as the creations are out of this world.”