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Miniature Elephants March Proudly Atop a Carpenter’s Pencil

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If you’re anything like me, when you were a child you were amazed at world records for writing the alphabet on a grain of rice and other inconceivable feats of miniature craftsmanship. Usually big is the go-to for being impressive. But extremes of scale work in both directions. Small scale sculpture is a celebration of technique over materials. It doesn’t require a big budget to make a miniature sculpture, but it does require a steady hand and a lot of skill.

Artist Cindy Chinn is the creator of ‘Elephant Walk’, a miniature masterpiece commissioned by the California-based Epiphany Elephant Museum. The tiny pachyderms you see here were each carved from the graphite of carpenter’s pencils using a minute chisel, a magnifying lamp and a trinocular microscope, and then deftly fixed in a line, the wood surrounding forming the trees and the savannah ground. The detail is astonishing; she has gone so far as to painstakingly render the texture of the elephants’ skin. It’s an extraordinary achievement, and goes to show that good things really do come in small packages.