If you’ve ever broken the tip of your pencil by leaning too hard on the page, you know how incredibly delicate the graphite material is. Despite the lead’s fragility, Taiwanese artist Chien Chu Lee doesn’t shy away from using brittle pencil tips as his medium. Covering a range of subjects, he transforms ordinary pencils into mind-blowing miniature sculptures by hand-carving detailed forms from the tip. Each tiny artwork showcases this artist’s admirable patience and steady hands—but his latest work is his best yet.
It’s been Lee’s dream to carve a link chain from pencil lead, and he’s finally achieved it after many trials and errors. “[I] always wanted to carve this,” Lee reveals on Instagram, “no matter how hard the work is even after some failed, [I] insist on it.” The incredible piece was made by meticulously carving each tiny, individual link without breaking the pencil tip. Lee was able to transform the solid graphite stem into a long, fluid chain that looks just like metal. Delighted with the end result, Lee rejoices, “I firmly believe, [it doesn’t] get better than this!”
Check out Lee’s incredible pencil tip chain below, along with some other miniature sculptures from his ever-growing portfolio.