Jim likes to make kaleidoscopes. He has taken three classes on the subject at John C. Campbell Folk School in western North Carolina. His first two classes were taught by one of the best kaleidoscope makers, Scott Cole, who lives near the folk school. His third class was taught by Sheryl Koch, a long-time kaleidoscope designer, who has a studio near the folk school.
Jim makes several styles. While there are many types of kaleidoscopes and books on the subject, Jim prefers the 3-mirror with a rotating object chamber and indirect- or side-light.
A 2-mirror model results in a round image with points of a star determined by carefully selecting the mirror angles. The 3-mirror variety fills the entire viewing field with repeats of the image.
By using indirect light, the object chamber can be filled with opaque items such as buttons, shells, beads, etc. The direct light model requires use of transparent pieces such as stained glass chips.
Careful examination of the image above will show how Jim uses mostly colored seashells and a few beads,
The images are quite large and may require some time to load. The above image and Image 2 are from the same scope.
Viewing kaleidoscope images is a very relaxing pastime.
Jim took the images by placing his digital camera lens against the eyepiece. Natural light was used for the exposure.
There are literally an infinite variety of images in a single kaleidoscope. Every time you turn the object chamber and the pieces tumble, a new and beautiful (hopeful) experience will result.
There is no way we could post all the possible photos of the beautiful images created. We have randomly snapped few images for viewing. The image actually changes from the time we saw it until we got the camera focused on what we wanted to photograph. These images just give you an idea of what magic can be created with a few mirrors and some pieces of stuff.
Collecting Kaleidoscopes Many people collect kaleidoscopes just as some people collect salt and pepper shakers. Kaleidoscopes are sought out for any number of reasons: They are attractive to look at; they are beautiful to look through, looking through one is very relaxing, etc. It is not uncommon to pay several hundred (or more) dollars for a good instrument. Really old models increase in value like any antique. This is why our collection consists mostly of the ones we made ourselves.