Saturday, February 13, 2010

Anatomy of a Kaleidoscope -- Part # 1 -- Tube/Holder

As far as I know, all kaleidoscopes require a “tube” (the most commonly used term, although not always an accurate one, since tube implies “round” and many kaleidoscopes are not “round”, but other geometric shapes and/or patterns) to hold the mirrors (an essential ingredient of a ‘scope). I suppose, in theory, one could find a way to hold the mirrors together without inserting them in a “tube” of some kind, but I would think it would be difficult to hold them together in such a way that the mirrors could not be damaged or come loose. So, for our purposes, we shall assume that kaleidoscopes have a “tube” or holder for the mirrors composed of some material.

The three most common materials used, as far as I have been able to observe, are wood, stained glass, and polymer clay. I work with wood for my ‘scopes and have posted many examples earlier. (A quick search of the web will result in quite of list of artists making kaleidoscopes in wood, one way or the other.) There are any number of artists who work with stained glass in a variety of configurations for their “tube” or holder.  (See the earlier post of the artistry of Frank Higgins in stained glass.) There are also quite a number of artists who use polymer clay or ceramics in one form or another for their holder. (See the earlier post with samples of Jacqui Smith’s artistry.)

A variety of other materials are used by some artists including metal (in some cases including precious metals such as silver), paper/cardboard, plastic, acrylic, etc. In fact, most any form of a container that will accommodate the mirrors can be used as a holder – e.g. my limited edition of cigar box kaleidoscopes posted earlier.

So, as you explore the fascinating world of kaleidoscopes look for the wide variety of materials and shapes used by various artists for the “tube”/holder of their ‘scopes. You will be amazed and delighted.

My latest posting -- a mini kaleidoscope in Hawaiian Koa.

see all my work at

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - -

No comments:

Post a Comment