Thursday, August 12, 2010


The realm of the minaiture is often the result of extreme patience, obsession with small things as well as the astounding results of time based hand works. Dalton Ghetti creates sculptures made entirely from the graphite lead at the tip of a pencil. The works are carved without any magnifying lens using only a standard sewing needle, a razor blade, a sharp sculpting knife and a very steady hand.

"The pencil tip is great; it's like a pure, very homogenous material," Ghetti 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.

Dalton Ghetti grew up in Brazil where he shapened his pencils for school with a razor or a pocketknife. Later his sculptures were large scale and made from stone. Gradually, however, they became smaller works in soap, candles and broom handles before being reduced to the point of a pencil. He now lives in Bridgeport Connecticut where he makes a modest living as a carpenter and spending his free time carving pencils. He never sells his works but sometimes gives them to his friends as gifts.

"When I'm inspired, I can sit down and things just flow". he said. "You can't force yourself to do those things. I do it just for fun, it's pretty much like a hobby, a kind of meditation work that I do."

"I do it from my heart, I do it when I feel like... and I pretty much do it for myself", he said. "It's my own interest in the small things in life that drove me to call people's attention to them.

One work is a series of pencils each with a letter from the alphabet at the tip of each pencil. Each letter took a month to carve. Sometimes they break but are placed in his "graveyard collection" ... a group of works glued to pins and stuck into a piece of styrofoam.

"It would drive me mad when I would be just a bit too heavy handed and the pencil's tip would break. I would get very nervous sometimes, particularly when the piece was almonst finished, and then I would make a mistake.

"I decided to change the way I thought about the work - when I started a new piece my attitude would be 'well, this will break eventually but let's see how far I get.'... It helped me break less pencils, although I still do break them, it's not as often.

"Normally I'll start a different piece, but there was a hammer I was sculpting and I broke it about five or six times and I couldn't rest until it was done. 

"Also, I never buy the pencils, my friends are always giving me them to sculpt on. Sometimes I use ones I find in the street."

About his "graveyard collection" he said, "People might think it's weird I keep them but they're still interesting. I worked on them for months so they might be dead now but at one point I gave them life."

Mr. Ghetti has made over 100 carvings, and is currently working on an epic piece inspired by the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

He said, "When September 11 happened I was in tears all day and couldn't do much for a while. I decided to make a teardrop pencil carving for each of the people who died in the attack.. about 3,000. I have carved one every day, it takes me about an hour.

"When I'm done they will form one big tear drop. It will take me about 10 years but it will be worth it."

Also read the NY Times article about his works...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


This little exhibition is dedicated to small chairs. These are the seats that inspire the active imagination to place the little person into them. As children our fantasies are placed on them like imaginary friends or dolls that need a place to sit. An empty chair often has an unknown or unseen occupant creating a story or holding a place in time.

The history of miniature chairs may have been originally as furniture in children’s play houses. As the craft developed they were used to be placed into portable display boxes as examples of a chair crafter’s wares and skills. A chair could then travel easily with the salesman. The model craft continues in the studios of designers with myriad examples of sleek and modern designs in miniature forms.

RED & BLUE CHAIR - Gerrit Rietveld - 1918

For this show, however, we’ve invited a group of friends and artists to create works on the subject of chairs and extend the function into the imaginary, the humorous and the profound realms of chairs. Many people responded from around our immediate neighborhood to remote parts of the country and the world. Our little gallery is now bursting with little chairs arranged on the display shelves and on the walls. The works are almost like aspects of personality, varied and exuberant, some funny with inspiration seemingly coming from a title and then spreading to the four legs, seat and back rest of the tiny chair. Others crafted simply from the closest thing to the hands of the maker… like the bowl of corn chips or the little piece of wire. It’s always amazing how sometimes the mind directs the hands and other moments when the hands take over the mind in a furious revolt of just making. Most creative endeavors are like an internal contest for dominance over who gets to have the most fun....mind or body.

The opening for the show packed the gallery. There are 109 works in the show by twenty four artists. It’s actually pretty easy to fill the small space with small art and curious people. We have recently expanded the gallery into the greenhouse as well since the plants were moved to the better climate outside for the summer. Despite the late afternoon rain drizzling on the gallery roof and garden of umbrellas, the show drew an appreciative audience.


Here are a few images from the Mini-A-Chair show...

Inspiration - Sherry Hart - glass, 1/2"cedar chip chair

Chair of Nails - George Peters - wood, nails

Yoga Man Chair and Bench - Tom Lyon - wood

Triscuit Chairs - Tom Lyon
processed wheat crackers & cereal, wire 

Hairloom Chair - Louise Padden - human hair

High Chair - George Peters
vine wood

Floating Fan - Doug Prince - film transparencies, plastic view box

Study - Melanie Walker
view inside the peep box 

Some Assembly Required - Melanie Walker - plastic, paper

Raven Chair Nevermore - Tom Lyon - paper, tape, wire

Lawn Chair - Melanie Walker + George Peters
moss, wire, sorghum, stone

Type of Chair - Louise Padden + Evert Brown - digital print

Home Seat Home - Melanie Walker

Thorn Chair - George Peters - rose stems & thorns
photo by Melanie Walker

Mini Favela Chair - George Peters - wood
after Fernando and Humberto Campana Favela chair - Brazil

Blue Chairs - Susan Cooper - wood, oil paint

Ying-Bang - Tom Steenland - wood, bullet

Lemonie Chair - Melanie Walker + George Peters - plastic lemon slices

Self Portrait - paper fold chair - Tim Havens

Wing Side Seat - Tom Lyon
wood, aluminum, wire

Champagne Table Setting Chairs - anonymous

For more images from the exhibit go to the Gallery O Flikr slide show and even more pictures of miniature chair examples.