Friday, June 1, 2018

We're All Ears :: June Inspiration :: Kaleidoscopes

Did you ever play with one of these as a child?

Buy yours here.
The text on this item says that you twist to create millions of mosaics, which inspires creativity and imagination and is fun and safe for all ages. Indeed! Now this is the kind of handheld device that kids should have access to. I was fascinated by them. Perhaps that small toy informed my love of color and pattern to this day.

Kaleidoscope animation via Wikipedia
Kaleidoscopes were invented by Sir David Brewster in 1817. This optical instrument has two or more mirrored surfaces tilted at an angle so that objects on one end are seen as a reflected, ever-changing pattern. "Kaleidoscope" is a word from Ancient Greek meaning καλός (kalos), "beautiful, beauty"εἶδος (eidos), "that which is seen: form, shape" and σκοπέω (skopeō), "to look to, to examine",[4] hence "observation of beautiful forms."

Brewster thought that these "perfectly beautiful and symmetrical forms" would be of great value in "all the ornamental arts" as a device that creates an "infinity of patterns." I couldn't agree more! I am hugely inspired by the shifting patterns of kaleidoscopes. Wouldn't it be cool to be in one? I found this image from an exhibition in 2012 where a child was walking through a human sized kaleidoscope at a Ripley's Believe It Or Not location. So cool!

And as I am wont to do, I fell down a rabbit-hole and discovered a type of "dancing" called finger-tutting and this group from Japan that was in the Asia's Got Talent show is clearly talented doing what they called "finger kaleidoscope." No mirrors, just three guys with very agile fingers creating mesmerizing shapes. Enjoy!

So if you happen to have a childhood kaleidoscope (or if you don't you can check out this video animation), I encourage you to pull it out and travel back to a simpler time when a handheld device meant turning a tube of colored bits of glass and marveling at the ever-shifting patterns and colors brought enjoyment for hours!

See you on Friday, June 15th for the reveal of Kaleidoscopes!


  1. I used to love my kaleidoscope as a kid. I'll put on my thinking cap nad figure out something to showcase during the reveal

  2. Hi, I've created a pair of earrings for this kaleidoscope challenge, this is the link to my group where I have posted a photo of the earrings -