Hand of Genius - Graham Short
30 Apr 2021
by Katy Rink

The tiniest art in town! 

Graham Short micro art eye of the needle

This handmade observatory box holds one of the world's smallest pieces of art - by micro-artist Graham Short - currently on display at Shrewsbury's Soden Collection

Graham Short has earned a reputation as one of the world's foremost micro artists. By using simple hand tools, he engraves on tiny objects, such as gold pins, bullets and coins, at such a scale that his work can only be seen using a microscope! He has even engraved a 10mm-wide pill with a 51-word poem by the Poet Laureate Simon Armitage in support of Cancer Research. 

We're lucky to be able to see his work here in Shrewsbury - currently on display at The Soden Collection in Wyle Cop, is a spec of gold in the eye of a needle, on which Graham has engraved a portrait of the Queen! 

Gallery owner Jonathan Soden said: “I first saw Graham’s work in an exhibition in Birmingham many years ago, I was blown away then by the details and how small these pieces really are. I am super excited about having these works of art in the gallery, they are incredible. Graham is in his 70s now and there will come a time in the not too distant future that he will not be able to make these any more. You are witnessing a moment in history."

Queen's Head on a pin

An ongoing project for Graham has been completing The Lord's Prayer (278 characters) on the head of a pin - an unbelievably tiny diameter of just 2mm! He began the first attempt in 1970 and only finished it in 2010 - and now available to purchase from the Soden Collection.

Graham Short micro artist

Graham has certainly earned his reputation as “The Hands of Genius” for his miniature masterpieces. He has spent over 50 years going to physical and mental extremes to produce the highest-quality hand engravings ever seen.

Not bad for an artist who left school at the age of 15 with no qualifications. As a young man, Graham signed up to a six-year apprenticeship at a stationery engraving company in Birmingham. He learned the art of copper-plate and steel die engraving, producing hand made embossed letterheads, business cards and wedding invitations. When his apprenticeship ended, he started his own one-man business in Birmingham’s jewellery quarter making stationery for banks and royal palaces. 

Diversifying into micro-art was an intelligent move. Graham's first Fine Art exhibition at Art Decor Gallery in Lancashire in 2011 sold out within twenty minutes. This event was followed by a solo exhibition at the Clarendon Gallery, Mayfair, London and more exhibitions followed. 

Jonathan Soden of The Soden Collection, added: "The work has to be seen with your own eyes to be believed. Each piece is totally unique - a complete one off!"

For more information visit

Graham Short at The Soden Collection