Micro-sculptor keeps art form alive

Micro-sculptor keeps art form alive

KONYA – Anadolu Agency
Micro-sculptor keeps art form alive

AA photo

Bigger is better is not the adage with Necati Korkmaz; instead the artist has created an opus of 25 examples of Turkish calligraphy that take up all of one centimeter.

Known as one of three micro-sculptors in the world, Korkmaz creates his works in the Gubari calligraphy form on lentil seeds.

“I create micro artifacts that cannot be seen with the naked eye. You need to use a microscope and a magnifying glass. I also make micro-size sculptures using the hardest spider hair. I use the hairs on a spider leg as a scraping tool,” said Korkmaz, adding that he also uses fox whiskers. “I’ve processed the most important examples of classical Turkish art on half of a lentil seed and created a catalogue the size of one centimeter.”

The art of Gubari calligraphy has some certain rules, he said, adding that the art form requires painstaking attention that includes breath control and eye-hand coordination. 

“From the dye to paint and paper, you need to create your own tools. You cannot take them from Europe or anywhere else; you collect them from nature. You cannot write what I write by using an industrial brush. You must find things from nature. This art is very enjoyable. You feel special when you create something. People are amazed by your work. They can’t believe, saying, ‘a Turk cannot do it!’ But thank God I do it,” he said. 

Minaret broken by hair

Korkmaz said he sometimes needed to start over from scratch when his works are damaged. 

“This art does not tolerate any mistake. I was creating Istanbul’s Yeni Cami [New Mosque] and pigeons on a pinhead. I saw a hair falling from my head. I said ‘no!’ and it broke one of the minarets of the mosque. I was working on it for more than three months and I just stared at it when the minaret was broken,” he said.

Korkmaz said he was performing an art that highlighted his personal talents. “This art does not have an education. Still, I try to show it to young people who are interested in this art. I want them to have an interest in our traditional arts. But today’s young people are not patient. They want to create and consume so quickly. Of course, this is out of question in our work. You need love and patience in this art.”

In his previous works, Korkmaz has created the world’s smallest Quran, fit the 99 names of God on a lentil and created the basmala on a hair. 

Gubari calligraphy is the art of creating miniature calligraphy on tiny objects such as lentil seeds by using a brush made from a fox’s whiskers under a microscope. 

Born in 1963, Korkmaz has been creating Gubari calligraphy with a microscope since 1985. He received a title of State Master Craftsman from the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry. 

The Istanbul-based artist has been researching forgotten traditional Turkish arts and is the only representative of the art of Gubari calligraphy in Turkey.