Man Transforms Matchsticks Into Intricate Figurines

Raymond Cooke was able to give discarded matchsticks a second life as incredible little works of art!

Do you remember that board game “Operation” where you basically struggled to get out the patient’s funny bone? Yeah, well, that was one heck of a dexterity test in itself.

Most of us probably couldn’t do it then, or now. But imagine what a test of dexterity it would be to carve a matchstick.

Photo: YouTube/BBC Archive

I’m not talking about just whittling down a match stick to an even thinner piece of wood, comparable to a toothpick. I’m talking about creating realistic art figures out of a tiny matchstick. It sounds impossible, right?

Well, apparently one man was able to do it back in the 1970s. In fact, back in 1975 during a report for Thames TV, the host of the show, Christopher Rainbow, did an interview with a local artist.

Photo: YouTube/BBC Archive

This man, Raymond Cooke, was an artist who was known for making very small but very intricate carvings using discarded matchsticks! He was able to give them a second life as incredible little works of art! They were so detailed and realistic for their size, something that even today is very much impressive.

As the news segment explained, “Ever wondered what all your discarded matches are good for? Christopher Rainbow meets Raymond Cooke, matchstick sculptor par excellence, who turns every matchstick into an exquisite little work of art.”

Photo: YouTube/BBC Archive
Photo: YouTube/BBC Archive

But even more impressive was the fact that Cooke was doing this with limited dexterity, as he’d been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. In fact, it was his diagnosis that spurred him towards his creative pursuits as holding his carpentry tools and working was what helped him to preserve some of his dexterity.

Cooke said of his artistic process that it required, “…a steady hand, infinite patience, and eye for minute detail, and some bits of broken razor blade.”

Photo: YouTube/BBC Archive
Photo: YouTube/BBC Archive

The news story further elaborated that “Raymond Cooke has always been a bit of a handyman. He used to build all his own kitchen and bedroom cupboards, and then one day, because he’d been having difficulty holding his hammer and chisels, he went to his doctor and was told he had rheumatoid arthritis. Over the last 12 years it’s got progressively worse …but in spite of this he was determined not to lose his enthusiasm and his ability to create things.”

Watch the incredible video below:

What do you think of Raymond Cooke’s dexterity and his match stick creations? Could you ever do something like that? Let us know!