Meet the world’s smallest Santa Claus – the latest micro-sculpture by Willard Wigan


  1. ITV Report
Climbing down the inside of a needle’s eye, Santa is about the size of a full stop. Credit: Willard Wigan

He is the size of a full stop and fits easily into the eye of a needle.

This micro-sculpture of Santa, complete with a decorated Christmas tree is the latest piece by British artist Willard Wigan MBE and is on display in Birmingham in the run up to Christmas.

Mr Wigan finished his latest creation in early December after approximately six weeks of intensive work of up to 18-hours a day using a microscope and minuscule tools.

“At Christmas we expect gifts and receive gifts so I thought I would make a gift to the world of the world’s smallest Father Christmas,” said Mr Wigan.

“Sometimes the tiniest thing can have the biggest message,” he added.

“I was inspired to do Santa as there is a lot of trouble in the world, every time you turn on the news, there is someone hurting someone else. I wanted to give the world a tiny Father Christmas to give people a little bit of joy.”

Willard Wigan’s sculptures have made him a two time Guinness World Record holder. Credit: PA

Made out of Kevlar, the Santa sculpture climbs down the eye of a needle above a Christmas tree, which is decorated with baubles made out of fluorescent packaging to make them shimmer with light.

Mr Wigan used a microscopic piece of wire brush and a flattened acupuncture needle covered in diamond dust to act as a tiny knife and fork to construct the sculpture.

And he even made a sack full of presents and attached it to Santa’s hand using a toothpick.

The painstaking process means Mr Wigan has to hold his breath and work between heartbeats to reduce hand tremors.

“It drives me insane as sometimes the tiniest of reverberations around you can make it drop,” Mr Wigan said.

“At one time, the Santa, which was transparent at the time as I hadn’t started painting it, fell and I couldn’t find it.

“I got really upset but I eventually found it on the back of my fingernail. But it won’t put me off doing another one.”

A microsculpture of the evolution of man. Credit: Willard Wigan

His incredible work has made him a two-time Guinness World Record holder and has even attracted the attention of The Queen.

The artist, 60, from Wolverhampton, has made approximately 300 micro-sculptures in his lifetime, but admits he has thrown some away as they “weren’t small enough”.

He was commissioned in 2012 to replicate the Coronation Crown in celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The artwork is now kept at Buckingham Palace.

The royal commission came five years after he was honoured by Prince Charles with an MBE for his services to art.

Willard Wigan was commissioned to replicate a tiny Coronation Crown. Credit: Willard Wigan

Mr Wigan discovered his talent for constructing tiny sculptures at the age of five.

Suffering from undiagnosed dyslexia and mild autism, he found solace in creating minute art that could not be seen with the naked eye.

My work is a reflection of myself. I wanted to show the world that the little things can have the biggest impact. At school, I couldn’t express myself and felt like ‘nothing’. I wanted to experiment with the world that we can’t see.

– Willard Wigan MBE

He started making ‘furniture for ants’ and carved designs on toothpicks before moving on to sculptures in needle eyes and on pin heads.

The reaction I got from people back then was amazing. And I realised then that little things can mean a lot,” he said.

A miniature Taj Mahal. Credit: Willard Wigan

Just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it is not there, once you see it you can realise what a big effect it can have.

– Willard Wigan MBE

A scene from Little Red Riding Hood. Credit: Willard Wigan

He has designed scores of mini sculptures from a depiction of The Last Supper to nursery rhyme and fairy tale characters.

Working intensively sometimes on up to four pieces at a time, Mr Wigan admits that the work is often uncomfortable and frustrating.

“I never stop. It is a compulsive habit, fanatical,” he said.

“The process is difficult and I don’t enjoy it but the pleasure comes from the finished product and the effect it has on other people.”

“Working on several at the same time is not always a good idea as it can get confusing.

“When I was working on Humpty Dumpty and Little Miss Moffat at the same time, I put Humpty’s head on Little Miss Moffat so I had to make Little Miss Moffat into Humpty Dumpty instead which was not an easy thing to do.”

The Last Supper in the eye of a needle. Credit: Willard Wigan

In 2014, he showed his appreciation for the World Cup in Brazil by recreating the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue.

His work has been seen in global advertising campaigns and has even been recognised by the Technology, Entertainment and Design institute (TED) who gave him an achievement award.

Some 25 of his artworks, including the Father Christmas, are currently on display at Resorts World in Birmingham until December 22.

I want to inspire people especially those people who have a learning difference like me. If I never had this condition, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I want to show them what can be achieved if you try.

– Willard Wigan MBE


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