Karl has custom cut first surface mirror for government contracts, for medical devices, for repair of cameras, for phone devices to use as an inspection tool, and other scientific uses. Obviously, he also cuts mirror for kaleidoscope makers as well. He has designed a mirror cutting system using a linear bearing and air pressure for straight and accurate cuts within a millimeter of tolerance. He makes sure that the desired size is as accurate in custom cutting as possible, and checks the size with a caliper before sending the mirror to the customer. He can hand cut squares or rectangles, but not circles, ovals, trapezoids, tapered mirrors, or other shapes, which is a frequent question.
The first surface mirror that he uses is 1.25 mm thick and has a removable blue netto backing that can be pealed off to expose the side to be used in the application. He uses a sharp knife to separate the blue netto backing from the first surface mirror he just cut, so it remains to protect the cut mirror that will be used and then pealed by the customer. After he has custom cut the order for the customer, Karl takes particular care in packing the very breakable mirror so that it arrives safely. He uses a lot of foam packing materials to cushion the first surface mirror, which is more plentiful than the glass itself in many instances. He has shipped first surface mirror all over the world with great success, so don’t hesitate to inquire what he might be able to do for your project or process. https://www.kaleidoscopestoyou.com/front-surface-mirror-for-kaleidoscopes.html
In this blog, we investigated the mirror systems, and now I’d like to address the artists who have been most instrumental in creating these remarkable collections. There are several which I inadvertently will miss, I’m sure, and I’d be happy to add them once it’s brought to my attention. There are over 75 who have added their knowledge and talent to making such fine, collectible objects. With such a large number of people who have contributed to this art, it may take awhile to cover even those 75 that we have probably met and been privileged to know, and that we sold their works in the past 40 some years at our five shops in Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota or online.
Bob and Grace Ade
For ease of finding information on these designers of fine kaleidoscopes, I will attempt to address them in alphabetical order along with some of their work. So with that in mind, Bob Ade comes to mind as the first artist that I mention. Bob and his wife, Grace, called their business Ade Enterprises, starting in 1983. Bob enjoyed adding nontraditional images to his kaleidoscopes. His work was made of lovely stained glass some of which were limited editions, and some were production pieces. His production pieces included, but bot limited to the “Mini-Tube,” “Number One,” “Jewel,” and ”Iris Garden, (priced originally from about $15 to $300). Bob’s limited-edition kaleidoscopes were priced originally from $1250 to $1800, some of which are “Crystal Pyramid” and “Crystal Rapture” in the Crystal series which used internal lighting to enhance the inside images.
Bob and Jan Anderson
The Andersons made stained glass as Anderson Art Glass of Lee’s Summit, Missouri. They were known mainly as limited-edition kaleidoscope artists. They also have had both an artistic background, studying at Prism Art School in Oak Park, Illinois, as well as technical backgrounds. A few of their limited editions are named “A Look into the Future,’ and “Moon Glow.” Their work was in the price range originally of $90 to $400.
Subject: Kaleidoscope Basics: Featuring the Object Case (or thing to be viewed)
Last month we wrote about the body, made of a tube of almost any material, plus the mirrors along the length of the tube, set at an angle to each other. We discussed the number of mirrors and the angle, which determines the symmetry of the pattern and the number of images within that pattern.
The pattern is modified by motion of the objects, caused either by rotating the kaleidoscope or the objects and this will be the focus this month. The objects are sometimes encased in an acrylic cell with or without oil present. Sometimes the object is a wheel of varied colors of glass or plastic pieces. Some of the objects might be within the room itself. Let’s explain this concept first.
A simple teleidoscope is made of a tube, plus mirrors inside the tube. As the teleidoscope is moved by a person, objects in the room itself are mirrored within the tubes by the mirrors inside the tube. If you are in a living room, you might see parts of a chair or sofa inside as part of the symmetry of the pattern inside the tube. Even if you place your hand in front of the teleidoscope, you will see your skin color as a symmetrical pattern inside. So, the teleidoscope has no object cell attached to it as a cell or as a wheel.
We feature several teleidoscopes on our website, https://www.ktoyou.com or https://www.kaleidoscopestoyou.com. One that we have designed along with Big Muddy Woodworks in Arkansas, forming N and J Kaleidoscopes, is shown on this page https://www.kaleidoscopestoyou.com/nj7inlohacrl1.html. There is a video showing how a teleidoscope works, and shows what you can see inside. Be sure to press the arrow to see the video!
Acrylic Cells as the Object Case
As previously mentioned, the acrylic cell may or may not have an oil inside that cell. If it doesn’t have oil, you will hear the sound of things tumbling as you turn the cell to vary the pattern inside. Some people remember the Stevens kaleidoscope making that sound. The Stevens model was made of hard paper, and was a favorite toy of many children. I have sold many of these as vintage kaleidoscopes, but can only show you pictures of such toys at https://www.kaleidoscopestoyou.com/stevens-toy-kaleidoscope-herman-missouri-4.html
There may be oil inside the object case as is our best-selling model, the “Spirit.” One style, “Seashore,” can be seen at https://www.kaleidoscopestoyou.com/spirit-scopes-charcoal-seashore.html. The price point of a “Spirit” kaleidoscope seems to be one that appeals to those seeking graduation gifts, birthday or father’s day gifts. We make the “Spirit” in many colors, so you can choose a favorite color.
Another of the N and J models that we make is shown at N & J’s “Padauk Double Wheel Kaleidoscope.” A seven inch long solid wooden kaleidoscope is one of our most popular inlaid patterns. As one or both wheels are moving, the lovely symmetrical pattern are seen. Be sure to view the video at https://www.kaleidoscopestoyou.com/nj7inlodowhk1.html.
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On the other hand, the most popular kaleidoscopes contain three mirrors, which will produce an entire field of patterns that are triangular in shape, The angles inside can be equilateral (three sides are all the same), or isosceles (two sides are the same, but a third is different, or a 30/60/90 degree triangle.
Be sure to check out the images shown on the page. A three-mirror system inside a kaleidoscope should equal 180 degrees, but any form of triangle. The images inside are continuous and rather honeycomb-like patterns. There are numerous examples of these on my website. One can see the equal sides reflecting the equilateral triangular mirrors inside on “Plum Blossom”: https://www.kaleidoscopestoyou.com/stglmoartkap.html
3 mirror interior image
30 60 90 3 Mirror Systems
Likewise, you can see several examples of a kaleidoscope with an isosceles configuration. One rather inexpensive model has been a top seller for all ages, and is seen here https://www.kaleidoscopestoyou.com/instlablfifa.html. Another especially enjoyable image is the 30/60/90 degree designed kaleidoscope. Such a kaleidoscope contains three types of symmetry: fourfold (from the 90 degree angle) sixfold (from the 60 degree angle) and 12-fold (from the 30 degree angle.)
3 Mirror Tapered Mirror Systems
this is a fun and unique interior image as it produces a 3 d Globe like image
There can be four mirrors inside a kaleidoscope, and are not seen as much as the 2 and 3 mirror kaleidoscopes. So, the number and differing angles of mirrors are determining the image inside! That is worth repeating, because it is one of the reasons that kaleidoscopes are revered and collected by many people. As mentioned in the first paragraph, there can even be four mirrors inside, which typically produces a long and narrow, square or rectangular image inside. An example of a four mirror can only be seen, but not purchased since it is a vintage 1985 model, by going to my website, https://www.kaleidoscopestoyou.com/retro/kaleidoscopes/apres-la-pluie-brass-4-m.html. The vintage kaleidoscope, “Brass 4 mirror” (era 1985) is by Apries La Pluie of France and is discontinued and not in stock, but is a wonderful example of a 4 mirror.
Perhaps the most perfect symmetry and best images appear inside two-mirror kaleidoscopes when the angle between the mirrors divides equally into 360 degrees. Hopefully the following makes sense! Degrees Symmetry Points 60 6-fold 3 45 8-fold 4 36 10-fold 5 30 12-fold 6 22.5 16-fold 8 20 18-fold 9 18 20-fold 10 15 24-fold 12 Now, imagine if the designer can make one mirror of a two-mirror kaleidoscope change angles! It has been done! It’s called a polyangular (meaning many angles) kaleidoscope and is most elaborate and satisfying. A wide range of symmetrical patterns can be produced in a polyangular kaleidoscope! Steven Gray made many of them in the 2010s, and they are now quite collectable.
Why are we so intrigued with kaleidoscopes? Do people really spend an hour looking at the beauty within kaleidoscopes? How is it that such stunning images inside are possible? Why does it work? People who purchase kaleidoscopes find them relaxing, colorful, and interesting. Viewing a kaleidoscope is even more interesting when understanding how the image is made. Sometimes when they find out how a kaleidoscope is made, they are somewhat disappointed in the simplicity of the workings.
The Simple Recipe of a Kaleidoscope Extraordinary kaleidoscopes are made by hand and show fine talent and techniques, and the art of making them combines 10th century tradition with 21st century know-how. This art has been studied, but the simple recipe was described by Cozy Baker in her books as follows: An eyepiece + 2 or 3 mirrors inside a tube x colorful objects = a beautiful image
The eyepiece of a kaleidoscope is better when large for viewing ease, and a tube holds 2 or 3 mirrors together inside. The mirrors are invisible to the eye, but they are the key to a lovely image. The colorful objects at the opposite end of the eyepiece tumble when turned to create the color and loveliness that are seen inside. The Mirrors are Key Ordinary mirrors aren’t used because they don’t create a clear image inside. The kaleidoscope artist of today uses first- or front- surface mirrors, which are coated with a reflective coating on the front surface. This clearer image is preferable to a fuzzy image just as today’s TVs are made clearer now. Regular mirrors are coated on the rear surface, so light and colors are reflected more than once and make the image fuzzier. Karl Schilling has been cutting the very thin, first- or front- surface mirrors
for over 30 years after discovering this type of mirror. He can custom cut first – or front- surface for other manufacturers needing precision-cut sizes. If you have need for first-surface mirror see his website at http://www.kaleidoscopestoyou.com/custom-cut-front-surface-mirror-strips.htmlor give him a call at 641-4542068. Watch for the difference between a two mirror versus three-mirror kaleidoscope in March on this blog.
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Yes, it’s time to think about Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for 2022. (February 14 for the date challenged) which is only a few short weeks away! Don’t disappoint that special person by putting off a purchase and perhaps sadly forgetting. For your special lady, we might suggest the “Hearts and Flowers” sterling silver kaleidoscope necklaces, which are currently on sale for Valentine’s Day. This handmade wearable art by the kaleidoscope artisans Kevin and Deborah Healy https://www.kaleidoscopestoyou.com/jewelry.html shows the artistry of this talented husband and wife team. She will enjoy the brilliance of the kaleidoscope with the stunning, bright pieces of glass inside, including unique sea glass pieces that really add depth and dimension to the image. You can see a video of “Hearts and Flowers” and more information about this exclusive kaleidoscope necklace by clicking here: https://www.kaleidoscopestoyou.com/sterling-silver-kaleidoscope-necklaces-long.html
Now, if you’re looking for a special guy, we have many other selections in brass or wood. You can shop in the comfort of your own home, in the snow and cold outside is frightful. For brass selections see this link, https://www.kaleidoscopestoyou.com/kabrkabykaar.html
New Year and New Thoughts As 2022 begins, I am astonished to think about where I am now and how I got here. This year 2022 marks the 40th year of selling kaleidoscopes for my families income. My professional history started as a twelve-year-old becoming interested in stained glass as I watched a teacher cut glass. How time flies, was that over forty years ago? Dad and I attended stained glass classes together which began a lifelong interest in art. My college Bachelor of Fine art degree in Glass and Fine art Painting was financed with family-run, stained glass businesses which started at various travel destinations in the Midwest such as House on the Rock in Wisconsin, Red Wing, Minnesota, Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota and historical Galena, Illinois. We found our niche in kaleidoscopes as we sold stained glass in these retail shops. We started making an article that I describe as, “I built businesses selling something no one needs! … but wants! ” should be added. We found that we couldn’t keep these kaleidoscopes in stock and so started selling other kaleidoscope artists’ works. Who wouldn’t admire Henry Bergesons’ “Turniton” https://www.kaleidoscopestoyou.com/newtubyhebe.html or the Kittleson’s lovely “Paula’s Rapture”? https://www.kaleidoscopestoyou.com/pa1.html Note these items are only available until sold since they are limited editions. We met many professional kaleidoscope artists as members of an organization called the Brewster Society. Thanks to my father, who taught Small Business Administration at the University of Wisconsin, we were blessed to have his internet and management expertise. Through internet sales, we soon started selling kaleidoscopes worldwide from a small town in North Central, rural Manly Iowa. My Dad advised me to develop my own line of kaleidoscopes, which resulted in production kaleidoscopes rather than limited editions so far, such as the “Color Spirit” line https://www.kaleidoscopestoyou.com/kaleidoscopes-color-spirit-kaleido-co.html or the “DIY Discovery Kaleidoscope Kits” https://www.kaleidoscopestoyou.com/discovery.html. I would like to develop my own limited editions and have begun to do so. The world-wide pandemic of 2019 (and still going as of 2022) has affected my business in that I have been unable to receive all the inventory that I have ordered. Shipping costs have also increased which is a factor in pricing kaleidoscopes. One thing that has helped my business is being able to offer custom cut, specialized “first surface mirror” to companies needing special precisely cut sizes. An Australian company that manufactures medical Devices found my services. I can custom cut these specialized mirrors for them. My goal this year is to continue to provide good service to existing and new customers and hopefully survive this seemingly long pandemic! Happy new year 2022!
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When you hear the word kaleidoscope, a cheap plastic kid’s toy may come to mind. A kaleidoscope is a piece of artwork, something you can enjoy at any age. They are collectible but can also be enjoyed as a unique, one-time gift. Artisans handcraft imaginative masterpieces that often incorporate other talents from metal work to glass blowing.
Color Spirit Kaleidoscopes
What is a color spirit kaleidoscope? It’s a handmade kaleidoscope featuring an oil filled cell with at least one hand lampworked glass piece by the artist, Karl. There are many different themes in this wonderful, magical series.
Starry Night – the Kaleidoscope
Are you or someone in your life a fan of Van Gogh? If art is in your blood, then the Starry Night color spirit kaleidoscope is a masterpiece both inside and out. Adorned with Van Gogh’s starry night, the outside of the tube is only a preview of what’s to come. The white at the base and cap offer a nice contrast to the Starry Night image.
Inside you’ll find an array of rich blues, yellows, and reds mixed with a contrasting white. It’s filled with mineral oil, so you’ll see flowing, vibrant images as you slowly twist the turning chamber. The images ooze and dance in fluid motion. The 2 mirrors form crisp 6-point mandalas.
Inside the object cell, you’ll find colorful beads and lampworking, many of which have been created by the artist who is also a glassblower. This amazing kaleidoscope can create an infinite number of new images and patterns due to the combination of medical grade mineral oil and vibrant beads. You’ll never be disappointed no matter how many times you pick it up.
The Kaleidoscope Details
Composed of durable plastic, the kaleidoscope features a slide closure dust cover to keep your eyepiece safe. The white tube is acrylic adorned with a bold Starry Night image. Inside are 2 mirrors, beads, lampwork, and medical grade mineral oil. It measures 9 inches tall, 2 inches in circumference at the eyepiece, and 2 ¾ inches at the turning cylinder.
Interested in seeing more about the Starry Night Color Spirit Kaleidoscope? Check out the video.
Color Spirit Kaleidoscope in Charcoal
Don’t let the outside of the Color Spirit Kaleidoscope in Silver fool you. It’s business on the outside and party on the inside! The simple silver tube houses brilliant colors on the inside. The black and silver provide a nice contrast and give the kaleidoscope an overall clean aesthetic.
Inside the object cell are a variety of objects including glass beads, Fimo clay, and silver metal beads, which form colorful 6-point mandalas inside. The bright colors form vivid images that slide with a liquid fluidity into view. Whether you’re 9 or 90, you can’t help but admire these fantastic images. In short, you’ll be entertained for hours.
The Kaleidoscope Details
The Color Spirit Kaleidoscope measures 9 inches in length and is 2 inches in circumference around the eyepiece. The turning chamber is 2 ¾ inches in circumference. The outside of the kaleidoscope is made of durable acrylic and has a separate turning chamber. Inside the oil-filled turning chamber, you’ll find silver metal beads, Fimo clay, and handmade glass beads and 2 mirrors. The eyepiece has a dust cover with a switch to open and close it.
Interested in seeing more about the Starry Night Color Spirit Kaleidoscope? Check out the video
The Kaleidoscope Experience
Prior to using these 2 kaleidoscopes, I’d never really handled a “real kaleidoscope.” As a kid, I played with some cheap toys but that was it. For some reason, I was under the impression that this was all there was. I wasn’t aware of handmade, artistic pieces. Looking inside these 2 kaleidoscopes was a bit like going to an art museum without ever leaving my home. I suggest buying one of these. You won’t regret it.
Karl and I are finally getting around to fixing a few things and bringing them up to speed! That means our blog too!
While Facebook and Twitter are fast and furious, it’s nice to come back to this format of the blog where I can write more in depth and offer deeper details. If you’re just catching us after a long break, we have developed a What’s New section on our website so it makes it easy for collectors and regular customers to come see what is fresh and new from artists as well as New Artists!
Whether you have a large kaleidoscope collection or are just starting out, proudly display your prized possessions with high-quality kaleidoscope accessories. Kaleidoscope stands safeguard your kaleidoscopes and put them in the spotlight.
From 19th-century antique kaleidoscopes to styles from the 1980s, vintage kaleidoscopes capture the imagination with their period-specific differences. Contemporary kaleidoscopes are equally inspiring and are available in designs from a wide range of current artists. Whether you go for the intriguing styles of yesteryear or today’s exciting designs, kaleidoscope stands put the spotlight on your favorite works of art.
Highlight the unique beauty of each kaleidoscope you own with a kaleidoscope stand that’s stylish in its own right. Kaleidoscope stands are available in a wide range of materials and sizes to complement your kaleidoscopes and enhance your decor.
In addition to drawing the eye to your kaleidoscopes, stands are the perfect kaleidoscope accessories to protect your collection from harm. Stands prevent your kaleidoscopes from rolling off of flat surfaces and breaking. Kaleidoscope stands are helpful in any room, but especially in children’s bedrooms, playrooms or other living areas where active kids play. Protect your investment in handmade collectible kaleidoscopes with stands in a variety of sizes and styles to suit your needs.
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