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Dalton M. Ghetti

(1961– )

Dalton M. Ghetti

Dalton Ghetti was born on February 28, 1961, in the busy city of São Paulo, Brazil. He is the eldest of three children and the only boy. His mother was a seamstress, his father a butcher and strict disciplinarian. A kind uncle who worked as a truck driver would bring young Dalton pets, like a monkey he picked up driving through the rainforest. Most young students carried a small pocket knife to school to sharpen their pencils, but eight-year-old Dalton used his to cut intricate patterns into the pencil wood, as well as in soap and chalk.

When he was 10, Ghetti's family moved to the country to the small village of Poços de Caldas, where life and his engagement with nature became much freer. In addition to his monkey, Mico, young Ghetti adopted a pet tarantula, a pet anteater, and other assorted animals that necessitated a daily hunt for termites. Over the next year, Ghetti constructed his own glider, a 30-foot long, 8-foot wide bamboo frame with hand-stitched plastic—the beginning of what would become a life-long commitment to paragliding. Despite his preoccupations, tensions within the home caused Ghetti to leave and join the army at the age of 16. From there he went to university to study biology, became fascinated by DNA, and hoped to pursue a career as a genetic engineer. At 24, he followed a friend to the U.S., studying English and working in home renovation in New Rochelle, NY, and Bridgeport, CT. He earned an associate's degree in architecture, married and divorced, and continued to work in renovation. "I live simply" says Ghetti. "I camp out on the floor of an unheated attic in Bridgeport. I have only one small table, a bicycle, and one hot plate. My most precious possession is a sewing needle and a razor blade, both fit in my pocket. I like to make things simple." He has been paragliding every weekend for the past 10 years. "It requires no motor, no plane, you just ride the thermals like most beautiful experience is in seeing vultures and eagles sailing behind me."

He likes carving in pencil graphite, because "it's homogenous, cuts in the same direction [not like wood which has a grain] and is both hard and soft." Dalton uses no magnifier, only patience, and some of his pieces take years to complete. He sells colored postcards of his micro carvings, signing them only in pencil.

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