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Mining heritage preserved in craft
Coregeous Creations makes art out of core samples

Walter Strong
Northern News Services
Published Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Anyone that's spent a bit of time exploring backcountry might be instantly familiar with the experience of coming across an old pile of drilled rock core and discarded core boxes.

NNSL photo/graphic

Cathy Comeau with her Coregeous Creations on display at the 2014 Yellowknife Geoscience Forum trade show on Nov. 25. Preserving and re-purposing these unique pieces of Yellowknife mining heritage has become a small business for Comeau and husband Peter Verstraaten. - Walter Strong/NNSL photo

Cathy Comeau began collecting these remnants of bygone days more than a year a go, and has been crafting the best of what she's salvaged into timeless decorative pieces with a unique stamp.

"We look for core boxes and core samples in and around Yellowknife," she said.

"We make practical crafts, like key chain holders and business card holders."

She's turned her hobby into a small business, called Coregeous Creations.

"These are real pieces of Yellowknife history," Comeau said.

Comeau and husband Peter Verstraaten have a workshop in Kam Lake where they store and work on the pieces for sale at the Gallery of the Midnight Sun.

But more recently, Comeau had a large selection on display at last weeks Geoscience Forum trade show at the Multiplex arena.

"This is a perfect forum for me," Comeau said of the many geologists and mining industry insiders that populated the trade show aisles.

"Everyone here knows what a core box is, so they're very interested," Comeau said. "I haven't seen anyone making anything like this out of core boxes before.

As well as decorative key chain racks, coat hanger, and business card holders, Comeau makes picture frames and large mirrors mounted inside recovered core box.

Some of her items are becoming increasingly difficult to find, thanks to the passing of time and wear and tear from the elements.

"Some of these boxes are hard to find, like the four-core box," Comeau said, referring to a core box that holds four core samples at once.

"I don't even know if they make them anymore. These are more than twenty years old, from abandoned sites."

Comeau guards her knowledge of stashes carefully, especially when it comes to the smaller "dynamite" core that predates modern larger diameter drilling equipment.

Workshop treatment is mostly limited to mild cleaning and wood finishing. Comeau doesn't paint her pieces.

Comeau's full-time job is at the other end of the spectrum that is Yellowknife's mining heritage.

She is an administration specialist at the Ekati diamond mine where she works on a rotation cycle, leaving her plenty of time to find, preserve and re-purpose these charming pieces of Yellowknife's mining history.

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