One artist in Birmingham, England, is garnering international attention for engraving the Lord’s Prayer onto a speck of gold inserted into the eye of a needle.
Graham Short, 76, is known for these kinds of microscopic creations, but it’s this latest piece for which he wants to be remembered. It consists of 273 letters, each only half the width of a human hair.
“This is the piece I want to be remembered by — but hopefully, not yet for a while!” he tweeted.
Just finished! The Lord's Prayer engraved by hand on a chunk of gold hammered into the eye of a needle. This is the piece I want to be remembered by - but hopefully, not yet for a while! pic.twitter.com/9kmVCVvOl3
— Graham Short (@GrahamShortArt) January 27, 2023
In addition to the Lord’s Prayer engraving, Short is known for etching what is thought to be the tiniest nativity scene into the eye of a needle as well as an image of the late Queen Elizabeth II onto a pinhead.
Just finished! Engraved on a platinum pin measuring 2mm across. Fortunately, Her Majesty is very kind to artists, having kept the same hairstyle for the last 50 years. I'm quite pleased with this. pic.twitter.com/ZUyEMYXx70
— Graham Short (@GrahamShortArt) May 25, 2022
Really pleased with this one. It has come out well. Engraved on the head of a pin measuring just 2mm across: Jesus of Nazareth. pic.twitter.com/Ji27CqRoBQ
— Graham Short (@GrahamShortArt) September 3, 2017
Short’s work is so intricate, in fact, he uses beta blockers to slow his heart rate while he’s working with a microscope, which he does at night because there are fewer vibrations from the traffic.
“If a [truck] went past outside,” he told the BBC, “it would feel like an earthquake through the microscope.”
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That, though, is not all the artist does to create the perfect environment for his craft. He also tapes a stethoscope to his chest so he can engrave in between heartbeats and routinely has Botox injections.
“Every three months,” Short said, “I have a course of injections into my eyelids and that ensures there’s no distractions from eye nerves or muscles when I’m working.”
The newest piece, worth around $308,000, will be sold one day, but not before the engraving is first put on display for schoolchildren to see, Short said.
“The primary schools are the best ones,” he noted. “The 15-year-olds aren’t impressed; they know it all at that age.”