Posts tagged #clarinet

"Kaleidoscopes: Spectrum" Exhibit Opens 4/6/19

I am beyond delighted that my “Rhapsody in View” kaleidoscope was accepted to be part of the Brewster Kaleidoscope Society’s “Kaleidoscopes: Spectrum” exhibit. The show, at the Mansion at Strathmore in Bethesda, MD, runs from April 6, 2019 through May 26, 2019.

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The first-ever kaleidoscope exhibit in the U.S. was mounted at the Strathmore in 1985, curated by Cozy Baker. Baker founded the Brewster Kaleidoscope Society in 1986.

As for my contribution to the show: With a tip o’ the hat to Gershwin, “Rhapsody in View” features a palette of cool blues and greens in the object chamber and the vintage marbles on its body. The body combines reclaimed clarinet and flute parts, guitar tuner gears, and a two-mirror system. The dry cell object chamber is made of vinyl record, clear acrylic, guitar tuner gears with a trumpet button end piece. The object chamber contains: guitar picks, guitar strings, piano string, crushed recycled glass, pieces of a vinyl record, a crescent moon cut from a drum head, and star charms cut from a drum cymbal.

I can’t wait to visit the exhibit in person later this month! You can view the online catalog on the BKS site.

Kaleidoscopic Tendencies

The Coat of Many Colors kaleidoscoope. ©2019 Wesla Bay Weller

The Coat of Many Colors kaleidoscoope. ©2019 Wesla Bay Weller

Guitar strings transformed. Interior image of the Coat of Many Colors kaleidoscope.

Guitar strings transformed. Interior image of the Coat of Many Colors kaleidoscope.

I got the idea to make kaleidoscopes one night last August. As I was drifting off to sleep – or rather, as I tried to stop thinking about work so I could sleep – I was contemplating what I could make with the old flute and clarinet joints I have accumulated over time. “Kaleidoscopes!” popped into my head. I jotted down a quick note.

The next day, I started researching the hows and whys and wherefores of kaleidoscopes. The more I learned, the more they intrigued me. I bought books and did research online. I sketched out design ideas. I joined the Brewster Kaleidoscope Society, an organization for kaleidoscope artists, galleries and collectors. The BKS is named after Sir David Brewster, who invented the kaleidoscope in the 19th century,

The Coat of Many Colors kaleidoscope, pictured above, is my first scope. I made it for the silent auction at the 2019 MusiCares gala last week, at which Dolly Parton was honored as MusiCares’ Person of the Year. Parton’s classic song was my inspiration.

Each step of the way, I puzzled over construction solutions and aesthetic choices. Getting the hang of precisely scoring and snapping the front surface mirrors for the interior took a bit of trial and error. I selected meaningful musical and colorful elements to go into the object chamber. When the scope at long last reached the stage where I could look through the eyepiece and turn the object chamber, I did a little dance of joy.

I was hooked. The alchemy. The synergy. The harmony. The fun! This was a turning point – literally and figuratively – for my work.

I can’t wait to make more kaleidoscopes to share with you.

The cherry on top of this creative sundae is that the Coat of Many Colors kaleidoscope raised money for a great cause. I hope that my instrumental patchwork did Dolly and her mama proud.

Posted on February 13, 2019 and filed under kaleidoscopes.