Kaleidoscope U

Confessions of a Collector > Judy

Featured Collector : Judy

Published NewsScope Winter 2009

The dictionary definition of collecting provides too dispassionate a definition – it doesn’t convey the pleasure derived from owning beautiful objects and experiencing a never ending range of colors, shapes and patterns.


L057 image is an array

My husband and I began our collection in a very casual fashion – that is to say we bought our first kaleidoscope while attending Super Bowl in New Orleans more than 20 years ago. And, in the luck of innocents, that first purchase was a Gallocolley scope. Little did we know how momentous that first step was to prove and how quickly we were to become committed kaleidoscope collectors.

We now have about 200 scopes distributed in two houses – this guarantees that we are never without something wonderful to enjoy and play with. Most of these scopes are contemporary and by well-known artists, although we also have a small collection of children’s scopes and toys. We’ve found that scopes made with different levels of artistic expertise and in different price ranges can all be enjoyed in different ways. Over the years as we’ve learned more about scopes, we’ve come to appreciate the technical proficiency and artistry that go into creating a great scope. Of course our favorite scopes are the ones that give you that “wow” moment and a sense of magic.

Looking around at our collection we seem to have crossed the threshold from controlled collectors to obsessed enthusiasts without realizing it, much as our scopes have gradually taken over free (and not so free) spaces. However, in the interests of helping other collectors, I’ve listed various signs that may indicate a potential kaleidoscope obsession:

  • When the ratio of scopes to collector is embarrassingly high.
  • When rearranging furniture your first thought is where to put your kaleidoscopes and whether you need new lighting.
  • When you greet friends with the announcement you’ve just acquired another scope they simply must see.
  • When you find yourself showing your latest scope to the repairman who came to fix the refrigerator.
  • When traveling you check the guide book for kaleidoscope galleries before checking for museums and famous places.
  • When you are within 400 miles of your favorite scope gallery and insist a detour is absolutely necessary even though you don’t really have the time.
  • When trying to choose between two scopes you buy both and then regret that you didn’t buy the third scope in the corner.
  • When you hand carry a scope through the airport and find yourself explaining to the TSA personnel that the black object in the x-ray machine is really a scope and not a bomb.
  • When you find yourself coveting all the scopes pictured in the Brewster Society newsletter.

Meanwhile, I’m already checking guidebooks for kaleidoscope galleries in preparation for our next trip…