Video of pencil sculptures

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Pencil sculptures by Salavat Fidai. (Bright Side Video)

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A marvelous minute of video portrays a virtuoso hand at sculpting the lead out of a pencil. Click on “Art on the tip of a pencil” to view a minute of how Salavat Fidai gets the lead out. More can be seen at his website via Facebook called Salavat Fidai Art. My wife Victoria sent me this video clip, no doubt pursuant to conversations we’ve had with our son Billy about the poor quality of the lead in pencils these days. We find, in doing homework (an astonishing amount for a kid in first grade at Vartan Gregorian Elementary, in Providence), that pencil lead snaps easily, and that sharpening a pencil is an act that calls for the patience of Job. (Not to be compared, of course, with the patience of Salavat.) That critique might actually apply to the pencil sharpener. Ours is a high-tech affair (as these things go) of plastic. It runs on batteries, and yet it routinely breaks the lead off the pencil in the process, leaving a deep empty wooden mine shaft that must be ground through before reaching a paydirt of lead to sharpen again.

As a boy we assumed such items were made in Japan. Now we assume they are made in China.

A Facebook commenter on Fidai’s video – one of almost a couple hundred thousand, according to the Facebook tally – marveled that pencil-manufacturers, who on the normal No. 2 pencil provide merely a quarter-inch of eraser at the other end must have unbounded confidence in the quality of the work being done at the business end.

No errors that we could see on Fidai’s video. He is a true virtuoso. The video is brief, almost titillating in its brevity, and if you can bear the accompanying elevator music you can see him whittle his pencil sculptures with an X-Acto knife (I think it’s called) in stop-action, whereby he completes or displays 11 sculptures in just a shaving over a minute, including wee Big Ben at left.


Salavat Fidai’s sculptures are featured on Bright Side Videos.

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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3 Responses to Video of pencil sculptures

  1. Peter Van Erp says:

    The leads made for mechanical pencils have gone though the same Crapification of Everything™. Pentel used to be a reliable brand…
    On a far happier note, our Official Arbiters of Architecture (those with FAIA after their name) are all screaming about Trump’s rumored order that all major Federal buildings should be designed in a Classical style. More rice bowls being threatened….


  2. Milton W. Grenfell says:

    I concur with your observation about current pencil quality. Frustrated with leads routinely breaking, as you noted, I paid a bit more for a carton of what were, when we were boys, a good quality American pencil brand. Ticonderoga – what could be more American than that?! Alas, they too kept breaking in my sharpener. Not to mention the frequent “stones” (hard spots) in the leads. Looked closely at the Ticonderoga box, and discovered that they too are now Made in China. Again, the American investor class gets rich, and we regular Americans get shoddy products.


  3. David Andreozzi AIA says:

    WOW… thx David!


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