Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Few of Our Favorite Things: Kaleidoscopes

Shredded crayon, colored glass, elaborate lenses: any number of things form the charm and beauty of a kaleidoscope. The ever-changing images draw us to gaze into the depths, marveling as children -- transfixed as adults, even. From cheap plastic toys to expensive heirloom pieces, they survived the mainstream toy market while others models have faded away.

Some artists devise their own, using kaleidoscopes made with removable turning ends for color and pattern variety. Sizing cardboard end tubes to fit, equipped with plastic end caps and transparent tissue to allow the light to filger and the mirrors to distort the images. Color confetti, marbleized tissue, and other resources create the patterns and images for distortion.

The challenge of creating a new endpiece for a kaleidoscope is worth the trouble for artists fascinated by unique projects. For others, the charm of a simple plastic toy with a firmly-attached endpiece for turning will be more than enough to please.

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