I finally did it. I opened a new Etsy shop to list and show off my handmade, stained glass kaleidoscopes! My inventory is on the light side at the moment, but there's more coming...MUCH more! I called the shop CrowsFolly because crows so love shiny objects and are involuntarily drawn to them. I think we all have a bit of that in us, as well!
I started making kaleidoscopes about 8 years ago, give or take. I wasn't very skilled at making large stained glass panels, and frankly the size of them intimidated me. One day I was cruising eBay looking for one of those old cardboard tube kaleidoscopes like we would get as kids (I just loved that click click click sound the plastic objects made in that magical cylinder!) During my quest, I discovered a book from the 1970's about the Brewster Society http://www.brewstersociety.com/
There was a whole world of kaleidoscope enthusiasts out there! Artisans and collectors. A world opened up for me!
After about a year of trail and error, I discovered the secrets to making a quality scope. One main secret is front surface mirror. Most artisans wont tell you that. They would rather you plug away making scopes using standard one-sided mirror and let you wonder why the image was always distorted. Not me, though. I'd tell anyone who wanted to know. I'd even tell you where to get it (which is no small task sometimes.)
Once I perfected the mirror assembly (a 3 mirror configuration is my favorite) I began to work on the exterior. Again, this was no small task. It takes a lot of care and patience to assemble one. You have to know when to not use flux, never use water to clean (it seeps under the copper foil despite all best efforts to prevent it) How to assemble the object chambers. But after several failed attempts I had figured it out.
For several years my scopes were the most sought after and hoped for gift among my friends and family. (And I don't think a single one of them doesn't have at LEAST one on their shelves.) I toyed with the idea for years to sell them, not really thinking there was a market for them. Until I started getting custom orders. So now, along with doing custom orders I decided to introduce my scopes to Etsy. The clear glass used in my scopes is re-purposed from picture frames that I would discover in waste bins or in thrift stores. The colored glass is obtained from local merchants, and occasionally from salvaged pieces of broken stained glass boxes and other objects.
I hope I will be able to provide a mix of scopes and glass objects that will make you say, "Ooooooooooo."
So much for a Wordless Wednesday post. Ha ha!
- I peruse thrift shops like a junkie. I find such amazing things sometimes that I wanted to share them. I tinker with glass and a hot soldering iron as time allows. I have a collection of thousands of glass beads carefully selected and purchased with the excuse I will make jewelery, but I can't bear to part with a single bead. Not one!! So don't even ask! Ok, you can have one.