The Leaded Lights of Chesnik Scopes

There were more questions that needed to be answered concerning my endeavours surrounding kaleidoscopes. What, pray tell, was I going to do with the photographs? In the beginning, I had no vision of enlarging and framing them as works of contemporary art on my living room walls. I’m a writer first, and although I have yet to become a member of the IAMPETH Master Penman Society, I am of a dying breed of folk who still value longhand written notes and letters with cursive embellishments. So, it seemed like a natural first step to create art cards with the photos.

I had seen art cards in quaint shops before. Some opted for fastened photos onto card stock, and others had the image printed directly onto the paper. I prefered the latter, searched out a local printing shop, gave them some image files, and waited. The results were less than desireable. They didn’t do anything I didn’t ask them to, but I knew what the image was supposed to look like and it never transpired onto the paper so I shut the door on that idea for a while. It’s not that I didn’t think it could be done well, but I wasn’t willing to invest the time and money necessary until I found a company I trusted to execute my vision for the end product. More than that, I knew I hadn’t reached my potential as a photographer and that my work needed improving. All of these things would take time.

Meanwhile, I kept experimenting with the scopes in my aunt’s collection and invested in a beautiful pedestal scope she purchased that was created by Janice and Ray Chesnik. I bought additional wheels from Janice’s son, Jon Greene, and therefore chose not to include this scope with those I gave away as per my aunt’s dying wish.

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My favourite image I took of the Chesnik pedestal scope doesn’t come close to capturing its true beauty.

Jon was very helpful and encouraging as I shared with him what I was doing with my camera. The Chesnik scope is an exquisite example of leaded mosaics of stained glass, and as hard as I tried, I was never able to capture the beauty as well as I had hoped. This isn’t a reflection of Chesnik’s craftmanship, but rather, my own limitations and inability to do the kaleidoscope the justice it truly deserved. How does one capture on film the wonderment to be found in a cathedral’s rose window? It’s simply not possible, and is best enjoyed by one’s naked eye. I have since upgraded my equipment and could try again, but I am loath to compromise the integrity of Jon’s craft. Some things are best left well enough alone, but I’ll be sure to let you know if I ever change my mind. Either way, I strongly encourage you to purchase your own Chesnik scope and experience the leaded lights for yourself.

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