We were motivated to provide creative projects that people of all abilities could take part in. I offered the idea of people making their own patterns which they viewed through a kaleidoscope. Whatever the pattern the results viewed through the kaleidoscope would create ‘wow’ images for the creator to view.
I spent time with my husband Dave who is a skilled maker considering the design, talking, drawing and researching.
The Kaleidoscope needed to be strong to weather the use of people with limited motor skills – a knock here and there is what it will receive.
It needed to sit on a table so people with limited use of their arms could look down it to view their patterns. It needed to change height so big and small people could have a peep.
It needed to have a big viewing hole so those of us who cannot close one eye at a time could see the complex images.
We researched and worked out the optimum ratios for the mirrors. The prototype was made in glass and gave very clear reflections.
GLASS! I considered it would be too fragile and pose a bit of a risk, but we knew we would lose the crispness of the patterns. We made the kaleidoscope with reflective plastic and are still pleased with the reflections – plus it makes the tube much lighter.
The size of people’s patterns I wanted to be big and chose A3 size. The big paper allows for people with limited dexterity to create colourful mark making lines.
The choice of A3 paper proved to be perfect to source cheaply from my local scrap store, Rushcliffe Playforum. A fantastic coincidence.
I wanted a clean looking design – crisp edges, nothing sharp, strong and easy on the eye.
It took time and a lot of craftsmanship. We are pleased with the machine and how it meets the design constraints.
It is their patterns that are important not the kaleidoscope machine.