Monday, January 31, 2005

On the cover of the Rolling Stone...

Well, there's rolling stones, alright, but the music is more of that industrial large-motor hum. This one was actually drawn from a compelling photo that was on the cover of the Canadian Mining Journal or the CIM journal (sometime during the 80's). I'd appreciate finding out the owner of both photograph and ball mill....

Semi-autogenous Ball Mill

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Self Portrait

Yep, that's me in the foreground. Rock bolting. Dad took me underground at Falconbridge's Strathcona mine (Onaping, Ontario) just before he retired. It had only been a few years earlier that women were even allowed underground, but the Queen put an end to that when she visited INCO. I was surprised at how light the drill was, and as I write this, I think it's still one of the most exciting moments of my life.

Rock Bolting: Strathcona Mine

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Before there were security guards

Lake Dufault Mines, when I was growing up, in the very early sixties, represent the best times of my life. Once, when we were contagious with the mumps, but not so sick to stay in bed, Dad took us to work with him. (us being my brother and Donald, who I had a crush on and who also was home from school) We ran around the mine site before the headframe was built finding fool's gold by the ton.

The assay office and core shed were fun - and that's when I first thought I'd like to be a geologist. You could see the varying amounts of copper in the samples, and then you'd put together this jugsaw puzzle to solve where things were underground. But of course, little girls were going to grow up to be mommies and nurses, so perhaps it was just as well I got good marks in school so I could catch a smart husband.

Forty some-odd years later, someone said to me that I painted like a man, and then worried I may be insulted. This gender thing might be an interesting sideline to pursue some day, but now it's fraught with political correctness. I'd rather be re-living the smells, sights and sounds of a working mine, long before there were security guards to ensure my safety.

My well being, of course, is looked after by a very smart man who chauffeurs me around old mines, steel mills and anything else that captures my eye.

Sketchbook: Lake Dufault (Ansil) Mine

Thursday, January 06, 2005


Early Celtic Whirly-Dogs

Metalsmiths: Gundestrup Cauldron

Woke up one morning and realized I was a Celt. Don't know why that escaped me - it wasn't as if we had haggis for breakfast or anything.

Shortly after art school I started looking at imagery that wasn't related to mining and found the Gundestrup Cauldron - and thought that the imagery was fascinating. My own research on the net (check out Ric's site Celtic Me) hasn't brought up a lot of information - in fact, a few of the interpretations of who's who conflict radically with each other.

Not being a metalsmith (yet) I made half a dozen of these plates from the cauldron in clay, enjoying the stories these simple, yet powerful figures told me.

What story do these people tell you?

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

British Columbia: Crawler Drives

The drawing is HUGE. Was originally based on a photograph - I liked the concept of an unmanned vehicle bringing out crushed rock from an adit.

A year later, while on a tour of Britannia Mine just north of Vancouver, I happened to see this bright yellow, tiny little toy train thing that looked suspiciously like this.


Bright, cute and tiny. Well, I thought, as long as I don't tell anyone, will they ever know?

Crawler Drive

Monday, January 03, 2005

On using "Royal" when naming Buildings

One would think than any building with the name Royal in it would stand taller, higher, and prouder than it's neighbours.

Although the Royal York used to be a landmark on the Toronto skyline, today she simply lends a touch of elegance to a cold and dreary downtown.


Toronto: Royal York

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Rod and Ball Mills

I'm sure many a joke can be made here, but I'll leave that up to the dear reader.

Rod and/or ball mills are part of the crushing process once the ore has been brought to the surface. These large drums contain varying sizes of rods or balls, depending on the size of the ore being crushed and the size required.

This is done with chalk pastel on grey paper, and is still sitting in my basement.

Ball Mill

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