Kaleidoscope Central: Jerome, AZ
I recently traveled to Jerome, Arizona (AKA “the largest ghost town in America”) and had a chance to visit one of my favorite shops. Nellie Bly is an incredible store dedicated specifically to kaleidoscopes. These are not just your average, run-of-the-mill kaleidoscopes, but out-of-this-world, amazing, magical kaleidoscopes. Some incorporate massive crystal rock structures embellished with copper and brass. Others are made of stained glass panels embedded with glass beads (the rotating element) which makes vibrant and colorful glass patterns when it is spun around. All are whimsically constructed by extremely talented (and highly collectible) kaleidoscope artists. I don’t think there are any two alike in the whole store.
I have two small kaleidoscopes from Nellie Bly, but would love to own more. I especially want to have the giant kaleidoscope seen at the store’s front door. Botanica is a large sculptural work with a planter basket that is ideal for an outdoor garden. You can fill the planter with virtually anything: flowers, cactus, glass globes, stones…well, really just anything you can think of–even lace and yarn skeins. The removable mirrored scope mechanism focuses on the planter’s contents. The planter bowl itself rotates 360 degrees which makes the patterns and designs change. The scope, though stationary in one place on a circular arm, rotates, too. Botanica is pricey, but one of these days I will definitely have to take the plunge.
Here are a few photos I took at Nellie Bly by placing my trusty little P & S camera lens up against the viewing glass of a rather large kaleidoscope.
All images copyright by Janet Towbin, 2014.