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Whalley gallery to showcase world's smallest engravings
AN ARTIST who produces the world’s smallest engravings is to showcase his work at a Ribble Valley gallery.
Graham Short has spent almost half a century honing his craft and his pieces are valued at thousands of pounds.
One of the works going on show at Art Decor Gallery, in The Arches, off Station Road, Whalley, is a dressing pin head, 2mm in diameter, inscribed with the Lord’s Prayer.
Mr Short goes to physical and mental extremes for his art.
Using fine, late 19th century, gold-eyed needles, he straps his right hand to a bench to steady it and uses a 400 magnification medical microscope to write on his minute canvas.
Gallery owner Chris McCabe said: “I am very excited. We are right at the early stages of a genius in the making and we want everyone to see his wonderful work."
Now in his mid-60s Mr Short, from Birmingham, likes to be in top physical condition for his often gruelling work.
He said he swam 5,000 metres a day in a fitness regime which lower his resting heart to the level of athletes.
He then times his delicate engraving strokes between heart beats so they don’t interrupt the steadiness of hand.
Mr Short wears a medical stethoscope to monitor his heart rate and also assesses the vibration of passing traffic on his work in case it affects his steadiness of hand.
He said: "I started doing it about 45 years ago and became obsessed with how small I could go.
"I wanted to do something that no-one else in the world could do and I wanted to push the limit of engraving as far as I possibly could with the work invisible to the naked eye. It is a gift."
When engraving the Lord’s Prayer, Mr Short said a single vibration could have led to a slip obliterating several words.
It took 300 hours and 1,841 separately engraved strokes to complete.
Another piece, entitled ‘Turn the Screw’ has ‘Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn…’ engraved on the surface of a screw point, will also form part of the exhibition.
‘Second Shot’ features the United States Constitution Bill of Rights 2nd Amendment engraved on to the end of a silver bullet.
Mr Short was born into a family with a serious engraving pedigree – his ancestor was Sir Francis Short a renowned Victorian engraver.
He has completed traditional engravings for the Royal Household, the Scottish parliament, the National Gallery, Rolls Royce, gunmakers James Purdey and Sons, Chanel and Vivienne Westwood.
The exhibition will open to the public on February 10.
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