Saturday, August 11, 2012

Flowerpot Kaleidoscope, 1967

Somewhat faded after forty-five years, this is a project I made at 10 years old, 1967. I couldn't get it scanned without that half-moon reflection from the lights, but you can see the paper and toothpicks inside.

M Y   A R T — Always looking for something to do, I made this "kaleidoscope" out of one of my mother's unused terra cotta flowerpots. I decoupaged bright green, orange and yellow tissue paper to the outside to give the pot some color. Then I glued a bunch of toothpicks to the interior, in a haphazard fashion, almost like an unorganized scaffolding. I painted the interior and toothpicks bright yellow so they'd stand out. I cut about 50 small slivers of construction paper from a pad I had, in purple, blue, red, orange, green and red, and then glued a small convex glass lens on top. I was lucky to "find" that lens in our garage. It fit the top of the flowerpot perfectly! My father was as much of a collector and saver as I am, and when I explained what I was doing to him, he knew exactly what I needed and what would fit. With the clear glass top, the slivers of paper wouldn't fall out and it added a nice shape, too. I glued that oh-so-1960s bright purple novelty yard around the top for a finished look.

Every time you shake it, or twirl it, the slivers of paper inside "catch" on different toothpicks, so the design changes. It's not exactly like a kaleidoscope with mirrors and fractal patterns, but it was similar in concept because you can watch it as the colors and patterns change.

This piece was always on one of the shelves in my parents' livingroom, and I've always displayed it in mine, as well. Hard to believe it's been around for forty-five years!


  1. Hey, that is very clever. I love stuff like that. I spent so many hours "crafting" with the grandkids and loved every minute of it.