The tiny worlds of "micro-mechanician" Bill Robertson

As a miniature modeler and painter, I am obsessed with any type of tiny world-building: model train boards, dioramas, dollhouses, and the like. So, naturally, I adore the work of "micro-mechanician" Bill Robertson.

You can learn more about Bill and his amazing work in this piece on the TED Ideas blog and in his TED talk.

When you look at a miniature, you can see so much more,” he says. “You can see the whole thing with one eye. When you look at a little desk in your hand, it’s all right there in front of your eyes. There’s a fascination with seeing it all at once.

To give you a sense of the extremes to which Robertson goes, consider his reproduction of a microscope that had been made for King Louis XV. Robertson’s version consists of 125 infinitesimally small parts of metal, wood and glass. To match the microscope’s bronze shade, he melted Canadian gold coins and applied the metal to the frame. The original’s barrel was wrapped in shagreen, or sharkskin, and Robertson knew that he needed baby-shark skin for it to be more to scale, so the nodules and grain would be the correct size. He found the sharkskin at a shop outside Paris that had been serving cabinet makers for five generations. In the original text about the microscope, the builder said to polish the metal with the tooth of a wolf; Robertson got creative and used a puppy tooth instead.

Oh, and this microscope is fully functional, something that is very important to Robertson.

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Fun "urban blight" popsicle stick and graffiti art project for kids

Graffiti Diplomacy is a Brooklyn-based graffiti art studio and educational outfit with a terrific Web site containing free lessons, handouts, and craft activities for beginning (and advanced) artists. Their "Urban Blight" diorama how-to, complete with popsicle stick picket fences, looks like a lot of fun to build and tag.

Graffiti Crafting # 1 - Learn How To Make A Popsicle Stick Graffiti Picket Fence

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Model of Manhattan made from recycled electronics

Zayd Manck constructed this incredible model of midtown Manhattan entirely from recycled electronic components. The astounding diorama is 165 x 80cm (5'5" x 32"). (via Neatorama)

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Kid makes a diorama of her neighborhood disguised as an RPG rulebook

Jim Jones writes, "I have been playing The Warren, Marshall Miller's role playing game about being rabbits, with my three kids for a little over a month. We play in an area based on our suburban neighborhood. My second grade daughter chose to do a diorama of a suburb for school so she could talk about our game and we built it so that it appeared in the rule book for the role playing game itself." Read the rest

Satoshi Araki's exquisite urban dioramas

Tabletop photographs of incredibly realistic tiny dioramas by Satoshi Araki. Read the rest