Believe It or Not! News

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28th August 2014

Thumb Sculpture

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! London has unveiled one of its most unusual exhibits. Brand new to the attraction is a giant thumb created by artist Larry Behnke made from 44 years’ worth of nail clippings.

Some people collect stamps, others collect coins and Larry Behnke collects nail clippings! Stemming from an idea when Behnke was just 12 years old, the artist has been collecting clippings of his own finger nails for over four decades.

Once Behnke decided he had collected enough nail clipping for his masterpiece, he began creating a clay version of a thumb sculpture, followed by a plaster cast mould. The next year was spent by thinly brushing layer upon layer of clear resin with a sprinkling of clippings, before sanding down to a smooth finish. The sculpture is mounted on to a base with a small light bulb inside which shines through to reveal what it is made up of.

Behnke said, “I wasn’t sure what to make at first but the inspiration of creating a thumb sculpture came from artists holding up a thumb to get the right proportion for a painting and I thought it was rather fitting of my fingernail collection.

“I know it’s a bit odd but artists are allowed to be different and I like the idea that no-one will be able to duplicate my efforts, at least not for another four decades.”

After viewing Ripley’s Believe It or Not! London’s newest exhibit, fans can marvel at further unusual sculptures from around the globe including a sculpture of The Beatles made from chewing gum, Tower Bridge made from over 250,000 matchsticks and a Harry Potter inspired Hungarian horntail dragon made from recycled bike parts.

Natascha Crump, General Manager for Ripley’s Believe It or Not! London said “At Ripley’s London, we like to celebrate the unusual and our latest exhibit is certainly that! With over 700 exhibits to marvel at, we guarantee to raise a smile.”