The sharpened point of a pencil is little, but the work of Marie Cohydon, a French artist, is even smaller. Her carved bird sculptures side by side, and the microscopic scale, is breathtaking. At the size of a pinhead, Cohydon can perform things that appear inconceivable; for example, a toucan can open its lips and a bird may expand its articulated wings.
Prior to carving, the artist worked in the field of modern jewelry design, which is likewise small-scale. She tells that, "I truly started carving in miniature on jeweler's wax, then fairly naturally I used a microscope to view details better and to glue my pieces." "From there, I discovered the infinitely small as a sculptural medium."
The scale of Cohydon's work is determined by the artist's perspective on the world. When she examines a bug, she is struck by both its fragility (due to its small size) and its resiliency. She also understands that humans are impossibly enormous to the beetle. "Perhaps I wanted to experience what it's like to walk in the shoes of a giant," she contemplates.
"To be working in the millimeter is to be in another dimension: accepting to be in the midst of a maelstrom of tremors (heart, hands) (imperceptible breath of air on the dust). On this size, physics, materials no longer behave in the same way; everything splits or breaks cleanly, and everything flies when cut or assembled. The microsculptor's universe is made up of making and remaking, twig by twig, little by little, like the bird builds its nest."
Discover Cohydon's work in detail, captured with a special camera magnifier. The graphite in the pencil is five millimeters high and two millimeters wide for reference.