Probably, many of us may recall how in childhood they looked at the kaleidoscope and were surprised at the variety of patterns arising from colored glazing. Artist and entrepreneur Sergey Yakovlev is convinced that kaleidoscope can be not only a children’s toy, but also an artwork, a meditation simulator and even a medical device for improving vision. He founded the creative workshop “Kaleidoscope Yakovlev” and creates real optical masterpieces from a variety of materials. Why do solid adults buy for themselves kaleidoscopes worth 200 thousand rubles and what magic lies in variable, fragile, but always symmetrical patterns?
Some researchers believe that the kaleidoscope appeared at the end of the 18th century in Russia and its creator was great Russian scientist, encyclopedist and poet Mikhail Wasilievich Lomonosov. He created it, but did not patent his idea. Whether this is true or not is not known. Therefore, Scottish physicist David Brewster is recognized as the inventor of kaleidoscope.
During experiments on the polarization of light, Brewster drew attention to the fact that glass fragments placed in a pipe with mirrors, while self-reflecting, create wonderful symmetrical patterns.
The invention became extremely popular, scientists and amateurs admired it, wrote about it in magazines, it happened that wealthy people ordered kaleidoscopes with natural precious stones, not colored glazing inside.
Today, in some countries, the manufacture of kaleidoscopes has become an independent art form, there are communities of kaleidoscope lovers, as well as exhibitions dedicated to this amazing device. Sergey Yakovlev decided to revive the art of making kaleidoscopes in Russia and prove that this is not just a children’s toy, but a means of knowing the world and achieving harmony.
“For a long time I worked with lacquer miniature, often arranged sales exhibitions in the USA, visited museums there and drew attention to the fact that in many American cities there are galleries of kaleidoscopes. Haven taken in hand a real kaleidoscope, I experienced an incredible shock. I began to study the history of the kaleidoscope, met its collectors and craftsmen. So I was excited by the idea, and I decided to revive kaleidoscopes in Russia,” says Sergey Yakovlev.
Birch bark, hogweed and mahogany
First Yakovlev’s workshop for the production of kaleidoscopes opened in the village of Marevo, Novgorod region, but after some time he moved to Moscow, closer to the market, and with his son began to make kaleidoscopes in a workshop in the city of Dolgoprudny near Moscow. Orders, to according to the master, were numerous: kaleidoscope can be an original gift for the New Year or birthday, stylish interior decoration, memorable corporate souvenir.
The materials can be very different. There are kaleidoscopes, the body of which is made of strict and elegant black agate, or of noble mahogany, or of brass, jade, clay, birch bark and even… hogweed. Its features of a wonderful material for creativity were discovered by the master thanks to his dog that once dragged from a walk not a stick, but a piece of an old dried stem of hogweed. It turned out that in dried and processed form, hogweed is not dangerous, but even beautiful and textured.
“Hogweed is no worse than bamboo, which is actively used in Asian countries. Of course, for hogweed to stop burning the skin, it must be cleaned and dried. But it’s worth it. Hogweed is widely spread in our country, funds from the budget are allocated to fight it. I think you should not eradicate it, but use it as an environmentally friendly and cheap building material,” Yakovlev argues.
The fact that Yakovlev’s kaleidoscopes are not toys, but rather works of art, is indicated by prices.
Kaleidoscope “Chrysostom” with gilding and stained glass windows costs 170 thousand rubles, “Mistress of the Copper Mountain” (inlaid with pearlescent and decorated with hand painting costs 85 thousand rubles, “Marine” (made of leather and metal with gilding) costs 75 thousand rubles. Prices can reach up to half a million rubles. The wizard explains this by the complexity of the process and the uniqueness of the models:
“Creative work will always be expensive. The price of the picture is not made up of cost of canvas and paints. It’s the same here. It all starts with creativity. We manually engrave metal, we perform lacquer miniatures (this is a rather expensive pleasure), we fulfill blackening and gilding. We need special mirrors that are not easy to get — very thin, on silver or aluminum base. In general, to make a real kaleidoscope, you need to take into account a million nuances. For example, the company “Alrosa” once ordered us semi-antique kaleidoscopes, as if from the XIX century, I had to master the technology of “aging” our materials. The customer was satisfied, paid a thousand dollars for each kaleidoscope. Former governor of one region ordered a very beautiful, but difficult-to-design kaleidoscope – with casting and case from jade. “
On the Road to Harmony
Surprisingly, putting only 25 elements in a professional kaleidoscope, you can observe completely different, never repeated patterns for five hundred million years! Life is not enough to review all pictures, folding before our eyes from multicolored pebbles.
“Kaleidoscope is the only object that creates harmony out of chaos. Kaleidoscope — it’s about an image that will never be repeated. Kaleidoscope gives happiness, creates a mood,” says Yakovlev.
In addition, this optical device has beneficial effects on eye muscles and nerve system, coaches creative thinking and calms down your mood. It is extremely useful to look in a kaleidoscope for those who spend a lot of time at the computer or face constant stress due to the furious rhythm of life in the metropolis. Patterns folding in a kaleidoscope amazingly resemble mandals — bizarre ornaments that symbolize the world order used in Buddhist and Hindu meditative practices.
Karl Gustav Jung used mandals in psychotherapy, Tibetan monks believe that mandal patterns emit the finest vibrations, promoting enlightenment, modern art therapists advise painting mandals to get rid of emotional tension and self-doubt. Kaleidoscope, like mandals, helps improve attention concentration,
You can talk about the kaleidoscope a lot, but it’s better just to look inside. And maybe you’’ll recognize behind ever-changing pictures the constant harmony of being.
Author: Natalia Sysoeva