Solo Exhibit Coming this September, 2017: Aurora Borealis Photography

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I will be running my second solo show this fall, which will feature photographs of local scenes with the Aurora Borealis. The show will take place at Black Spruce Gallery & Framing, 42 Pine Street South, Timmins. More details will be posted over the next few months.

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Miniature Headframe in an Eggshell: Completed Last Week

The detailing work on the miniature headframe was completed on April 16th, 2017 and then it glued on to its display stand in a display case meant for a baseball. Here are couple of close-up shots before it goes off to the gallery for review.

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Miniature Show Next Month at Black Spruce Gallery (Shared from “A Northern Blog…”)

Here is the beautiful thing about living in a smaller community like Timmins. You get to meet really neat people like photographer and gallery owner Katelyn Malo. Katelyn will hosting the Tiny Art Exhibit in Timmins at the Black Spruce Art Gallery 40 Pine St. S. from May 2 to June 30th. All entries cannot […]

via A Northern Blog: The world seen through northern eyes — “Katelyn Malo and the World’s Biggest, Tiny Art Festival : Why its great to live in a smaller city!” — A Northern Blog

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Painted Eggshell

Once the Plaster of Paris had dried overnight, I painted a base coat using crafters’ grade white a acrylic paint. The interior of the eggshell was painted with the same white paint, but tinted with just a hint of artist-grade Phthalocyanine Blue – Green Shade. For the exterior of the shell, I used a fine paint brush to dab on gold flakes, held in place with Liquitex Gloss Medium and Varnish. The gold flakes came from a souvenir novelty bottle purchased a few years ago at the Royal Ontario Museum. (Souvenir gold flecks – if you happen to live near a museum with a gift shop – can range from $5.00 to $10.00 a bottle and are good if you want to experiment with tiny bits of gold – just drain the glycerine out of the bottle and rinse the flecks with water.) The egg is sitting on a different wine cap, because the first one was being primed in matte black. IMG_7640

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Plastering a Miniature Headframe into an Egg

After painting my 3D printed model of the McIntyre Headframe, I picked a suitable eggshell that had been chipped out on the front and back. To patch up the holes leftover from draining the contents, I used a couple small pieces of paper bandage tape. The egg was then set down on a wine bottle cap for working with – the cap will eventually be the model’s stand.

A (way too large) small quantity of Plaster of Paris was mixed up in an old pudding cup and then scooped into the egg using a steel potter’s tool. The picture below also shows a scrap 3D printing raft, which I was considering laying in with the plaster, but later I decided the plaster alone was sufficient.

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This is a close-up of the empty egg and model headframe.

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Next, I started scooping in the mixed plaster with the pottery tool. (One end is like a very small spoon, the other end is like small painter’s knife.) I am using the plaster as snow for this scene – the plaster looks lumpy, because I had mixed in a glittery acrylic medium (the acrylic was getting old and coagulated), but most of it was covered by the opacity of the plaster.

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A close-up view of the headframe mounted into the wet plaster in the egg. I put a squash seed beside it for comparison. The background is the controls of the washing machine doubling as another workbench.

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A shot of the egg model with the materials used. The object that looks like a large hypodermic minus its needle is a novelty shot glass (hence the 1/2 and 1 oz measurements) that makes an excellent slip trailing tool and paint applicator among other things. I was going to use it for the plaster, but it was too thick and easier to just scoop into the egg.

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Tiny Scenery

Some 3D printed trial miniatures, which I designed using Tinkercad.Although each model printed in less than a half-hour, designing each one took three to four hours. The pencil sharpeners in the picture give an idea of scale. Each model has also bee hand-painted.


The McIntyre Headframe, two (not to scale) Hollinger Housesm and two different scale replicas of the Hollinger Mine train engine found in Porcupine. The “bubble” in the background s an inverted 4-inch diameter glass Christmas ball.


The McIntyre Headframe, painted Hollinger locomotive and nickel-sized underground mine train.

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Revisiting an Odd Skill After 20 Years

Back in 1997, when I was 16 going on 17, I experimented with making tiny dioramas inside of eggshells. The first one was a carved sailboat (with paper sails and the top of a toothpick as a buoy), and the second one was a biplane – complete with rotating propeller  – flying over a barn labelled “Jim’s Cows” (a tiny carved toothpick cow is just out of the frame in the picture). I made a third egg – an airplane flying over a winter forest at sunset – which was given as a Christmas present to a teacher. I had started a fourth egg – the RMS Titanic – and then put everything aside as I made my way towards university.

Now 20 years later, a juried miniature show is coming up in town, and it includes a category for sculptures. I decided to give the eggshell diorama another try.

The technique to hollow out the egg is to chip a hole in the top and bottom of the shell (I use a nut pick, although I’ve seen references to using darning needles in old craft books) and blow out the contents of the egg into a bowl, and then rinse out the shell. There are also squeezable air bulbs that can be used if the idea of blowing through an egg is not appealing.

I recall chipping a hole in the front of the egg and then using fine, pointed scissors e to start cutting a line. I would then chip away at the egg using my fingers (and possibly needle-nose pliers), until I had a decent-sized hole… hopefully without putting too many cracks in the shell and making the hole gaping and jagged. This time, I also chipped out the backs of some eggs to enable the central object of the diorama to be seen from the back.

Unlike 20 years ago, there are now so many more options for crafting materials, as well as protective cases (the eventual sculpture will reside in a plastic baseball display stand).

Out of an original 1 dozen eggs – less 4 that failed structurally when being hollowed, and 1 that was stuck to the carton, plus another 2 that broke in the chipping process, I ended up with 7 potential diorama housings – 4 with holes in the front and back. The chipped borders will eventually be reinforced with a bead of hot glue or similar trimming, which will also frame the diorama scene.

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Note: Also unlike 20 years ago, I have access to laser cutting. A future experiment may be to see if I can get a more intricate cut-out with it – although it would take away from the organic feel of the chipping technique.

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Miniature Work

Sometimes I get ideas that sit and incubate for quite a long time, in the case of the project I’ve finally gotten around to starting, the incubation period has been nearly 7 years. This tiny train is made of balsa wood (with a piece of hardwood dowel for the locomotive boiler) and has been designed to fit into a 4-inch circle – with a turn radius that would be impossible scaled up to an actual train. I’ll leave it to the imagination to guess where this project is headed.

Also, the Sam Bucovetsky ruler came from a bag of miscellaneous stationery supplies bought at the Timmins Value Village a few years ago. The glob of glue was already stuck to it.

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Linocut Prints for Sale at the Great Canadian Kayak Challenge Festival

I set up a table in the Arts and Culture tent at this year’s Great Canadian Kayak Challenge Festival, being held at the Mattagami Historical Conservation Area Participark this weekend. I have an assortment of linocut items – cards, bookmarks, and 4 X 6″ unframed prints for sale between $2.00 and $4.00. There are also some watercolour reproduction cards and photo magnets available. Drop by anytime between 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Saturday August 27th, 2016 or between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Sunday August 28th, 2016. 

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Dark Sky Lantern Part 3

The dark sky lantern was completed over a month ago, but I hadn’t gotten around to posting more updates. Here it is after t stained an Aurora Borealis motif on it before covering it in clear glaze. I used a light green, coral pink, and purple for the Northern Lights, turning the lantern upside down to let the stain run. Although it appears to have a purple sky, the lantern is actually a very dark blue for the most part. I also made a base and a lid for it.

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