Monday, June 03, 2013

K is for Kaleidoscope

kaleidoscopes on display, Brewster Society Convention
Display of hand-made kaleidoscopes at the Brewster Kaleidoscope Society convention

Do you remember kaleidoscopes from when you were a kid? Cardboard tube with some mismatched mirrors and flakes of plastic? As fun as those were the first time you tried them out, you haven't seen anything until you've seen these handmade kaleidoscopes! No more clunking into place, these images are created fluidly and gracefully.

Over the weekend, the Brewster Kaleidoscope Society held their annual convention here in Freeport. On Saturday and Sunday there was a vendor display. Totally amazed does not begin to describe it! These handmade kaleidoscopes are nothing like the toys we used to have. Many of these are precision-designed and -made works of art. Absolutely gorgeous and inventive.

There were tiny, 'kid size' kaleidoscopes, kaleidoscopes shaped like lighthouses, teleidoscopes (these create kaleidoscopic images of whatever you face them toward), the amazing 4-mirrored kaleidoscope above (with the black drape) and so many others.

Some kaleidoscopes create the mandala images you probably remember. But there were some on display here that create spherical images called 'globes' and others that created linear images and some that combine different image types into one kaleidoscope. And, yes, it's all done with mirrors!

Back to those little bits of plastic that we used to look at, I was checking what was in the 'object cells' (that's what you call the container that holds the objects that make the patterns) and it's pretty much anything you want to put in there! Buttons, barrettes, those little bits of broken plastic, shells, it appears almost anything that will hold its color and shape can go inside.

One very small one I tried out was like those 'Where's Waldo' wands - you tip the wand back and forth while looking thru the tube and the image constantly shifts as the objects float back and forth.

In the case of the teleidoscope, anything will work but moving objects are the best! TV images, bits of colored and patterned objects on a turntable, a waving flag, all kinds of things.

If there is a kaleidoscope convention nearby, I really recommend heading over to the vendor booths to check this out. The workmanship and creativity that go into making these fun, usable, interesting works of art is amazing.

The Brewster Kaleidoscope Society is named after Sir David Brewster who received the first patent for a kaleidoscope. For more information about the history of kaleidoscopes and to find kaleidoscope artists, head over to the Brewster Kaleidoscope Society website.

To view more of the kaleidoscopes shown above and to see 'inside' the 4-mirrored kaleidoscope, check out Arny Weinstein's website -

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

No comments: