08/06/2016 2:56 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST

This Indian Micro Sculptor Has Changed The Way We Look At Pencils

Yash Sonii/ Instagram

Mumbai-based micro sculptor Yash Soni is enlarging his carbon footprint one tiny creation at a time, but without harming the environment.

Exactly a year ago, the 26-year-old chanced across several micro carvings, including Salavat Fidai, those by a renowned Russian micro-sculptor who transforms pencils into works of art. After viewing his time lapse video (watch below) that involved shaping the point of a pencil into two interlinked hearts, an inspired Soni decided to give miniature pencil carving a go.

“I bought a normal pencil and carved out a single heart in one successful attempt,” Soni told HuffPost India. “After that I was hooked.”

Soni's first attempt at creating a heart.

Soni always had a creative streak. “I used to do a lot of graffiti and sketching and felt that this was a perfect artistic avenue," he explained. "I’ve seen miniature artists in Rajasthan painting on single grains of dal, and burning matchsticks to fuse them into artistic shapes. The intricacy and detailing of such tiny objects is fascinating.”

A lead guitar.

Soni started out with an ordinary craft cutter, then graduated to using two surgical blades to achieve greater precision in his creations. One is a curved blade meant to shave wood from the pencil and the other is for more detailing. Each piece takes around 45 minutes to a couple of hours to create. The tiniest mistake means starting from scratch.

Urged by friends, Soni began framing his pencils in message bottles and is now selling them for about Rs 2,000 a piece. His most expensive carving yet sold for Rs 6,000 (Soni can be contacted through his Facebook page for orders).

Soni bottles up his creations.

He is particularly proud of a carved tap that is a reference to the drought in Maharashtra. “I saw a running tap, and thought of all the 'Save the Water' campaigns doing the rounds,” he said. “But when I posted the photos of my tap sculpture, most people refused to believe it was a tiny carving made from the lead of a pencil; they thought it was the real thing.”

Soni's tribute to 'Save Water' campaigns.

While Soni claims he is a long way from reaching his Russian idol’s standards of quality, he has the satisfaction of having successfully attempted something novel and achieving a high level of proficiency in it. “Most of my work is inspired by random thoughts,” he said. “I’ve never been to Paris or seen the Eiffel Tower, so I created my own. Another day, I thought of creating a windmill that would actually move.”

Soni's version of the Eiffel Tower.

An ex-engineer who loved tinkering with propellers and motors, Soni created his windmill by first carving out a 3 mm fan and then creating an appropriate axle. “This was tricky as the axle had to be thin, yet strong enough to support the fan and allow it to move,” he explains. “All you have to do is gently blow on the windmill and it rotates.”

A pencil windmill.

After successfully employing '6b' pencils, Soni has started working with the finer '2b' pencils. His ultimate goal is to make miniature carvings from the 0.4 lead used commonly in mechanical pencils.

Contact HuffPost India

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