A 1975 Interview with a Man Who Carves Tiny Figurines From Matchsticks to Maintain His Dexterity

In a 1975 report for Thames TV, host Christopher Rainbow visited artist Raymond Cooke in his studio to learn more about the incredibly realistic figurines he carves from matchsticks.

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.

Cooke explained that he took up this hobby to help him better hold onto his carpentry tools and maintain his dexterity after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. All that is required is “…a steady hand, infinite patience, and eye for minute detail, and some bits of broken razor blade”

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.

Matchstick Sculptures
Matchstick Carvings
Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.