Needle Eye Sculptures

Needle eye sculptures

Needle eye sculptures

Needle eye sculptures are not exactly a sewing subject except that these sculptures are formed within the eye of a sewing needle.  Now I freely admit that I sometimes struggle to thread a needle if I am being too lazy to find my glasses, so you can imagine my awe when I went to the Willard Wigan exhibition.  It’s at the Birmingham Library and I managed to visit the exhibition last Saturday before my visit to the theatre.

Through the eye of a needle exhibition

Willard Wigan is from Birmingham and when he was young he made houses for ants.  No, I didn’t do that when I was young either!  That was the start of an extraordinary career of micro sculpture.  In the photo, the frame around the Evolution sculpture is genuinely the eye of an ordinary sewing needle.  The exhibition obviously had microscopes set up so that we could view the work.  Apparently Willard manages these extraordinary works by slowing down his heartbeat and then sculpting in between breaths.  Not surprisingly, it takes about two months to complete each work.  The scalpel that he uses is a needle that he has sharpened to make it into a blade rather than a point and he uses things like the web of a money spider to hold the items in place.  The paint used is ground down molecules of paint – imagine painting a humming bird in all its beautiful colours when it is small enough to fit inside the eye of a needle!

I am just so pleased that I happened to be in Birmingham when the exhibition was showing.  If you live anywhere nearby, do go and see it – I feel really privileged to have been able to see such extraordinary and beautiful work.

Fabric purchases

Fabric purchases

Fabric purchases

Need you ask – of course I managed to find some fabric that I couldn’t live without!  I had been recommended the Fancy Silk Store which was conveniently situated beside the rag market so I spent a happy hour browsing in four stories of fabrics after I had toured the market.  With my thoughts turning to summer, I bought some gorgeous blue paisley fabric to make a summer blouse and some blue satin that I hope to use for a wedding ring cushion.  I bought enough of it for me to have several trial runs before I make the final version.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I hope to see you again soon.


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  1. Elizabeth says:

    Hello Rose your mums machine was an active one and did not want to give up, it is still in good condition my machine, and I found I could do quite a lot of things on it, the only thing I cannot get was new foot a gathering for it as Janome do not make them any more for my model of my machine. as it has a long shank on it, I did manage to get a walking foot for it but had to go to Sewing online and they it seemed were in america and I order it, it did not cost me much to purchase from them but got a shock when eventually as I thought postage paid, which of course was but I had to pay befor I could get from post office sorting offices the duty on it to come in to this country and that was about if remember right £55 and the foot was not big and a very small package. LOL But sewing a a great thing to do and should be more in schools as it is not to day any more like it use to be thank you againBest wishes Elizabeth

    • Hi Elizabeth. That must have been a shock having to pay so much customs duty for your sewing foot. Isn’t it wonderful that we can find and buy things from anywhere in the world because of the internet. I’m in touch with quilters from all over the world and I really enjoy it.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Helloo Rose yes I love all textiles too, as I in the late 60’s I worked for Carrington Fabric a branch of Carrington Dewhurst Textile Co. they use to do al l material for M&S back then I still have make you laugh an nylon mac they use to also make for M&S still os fine and good.The quality was first class in them days and I saw lots of lovely materials which made me take to buying my Sewing machine which in the early 70’s was the first out new model it is still great to day, Rose I worked at two great places that started me off on the two passions I love still to day the textile firm of Carrington Fabrics and Wallace Heaton Photographers in Bond Street London for the photography I love when et time to do. but I am really pleased to have found out about you as for to show me how to do the blocks for learningQuilting which I also love doing and also maknig other things as you do thank you for all your help best wishes Rlizabeth

    • Hi Elizabeth. How lovely to work for the companies that fed your passions. As long as your sewing machine stitches forwards and backwards, you can do most forms of sewing. I used my mother’s 40 year old Bernina for years – until it started to keep sewing and wouldn’t stop!

  3. Dear Rose – just love the fabrics you selected. Glad t hear you enjoyed yourself. Those sculptures are amazing. The patience he must have. I think I heard a few years ago the same man had created some on a pin head. Maybe a google will find them.

    all best Janny.

    • Hi Janny. Thanks – I’m hoping to make the blouse up soon as I have booked myself a mini break to Florence in a couple of weeks’ time. Yes, some of the sculptures were on a pin head. I forgot to mention that in the article.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Hello Rose Thank yo uthat blouse is lovely and beautiful style I do like the pattern of material yo uhave chosen as always loved paisley patterns from way back in my early 20’s back in the 60’s the paisley was al lthe fashion then and I have loved it ever since. it is so nice seeing all the lovely patterns and some of the then fashion of styles coming back which gave a woman and young lady really style and made a lady look like a lady even if she was not posh or wealthy LOL But they really knew how to dress even simple back then I did not realize you also did other things and thought quilting your main thing. as it is lovely to know and hear how you get on with it thank you again for sharing the pattern with me best wishes to you Elizabeth

    • Hi Elizabeth. Yes, the paisley design also brings back great memories for me. You are right – my main passion is quilting, but I also enjoy making other things. I suppose that I should say that textiles are my passion. That covers a greater area!

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Hello Rose the fabric you brought for your blouse is lovely and the pattern also is great, that eye of the needle is marvellous and what work must havegone in to it and patience.

    Please if yo udo not mind sharing the pattern number so that I may also get one and the name and make of pattern and I wil lget a copy of pattern only if yo udo not mind some one else making one the same thank you also for your lovely Quilt block patterns I love the Double Z one it is really great Best wishes to you Elizabeth xx

    • Hi Elizabeth. I’m more than happy to share the pattern details: it’s Simplicity number 1253. Looking at the instructions on the back they say it works with quite a large list of fabric types. I’m hoping to make it up fairly soon so I’ll let you know how I get on in an article.

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