Charles Karadimos

Charles Karadimos

Cozy Baker said it best in her 2002 book Kaleidoscope Artistry, when she said, “If kaleidoscope connoisseurs were asked to compile a list of the top ten artists, it is almost certain the name Charles Karadimos would be on every list. Whether it is one of his signature handheld cones or an elaborate parlor model, each one is a perfect example of why kaleidoscopes are not just kaleidoscopes; they are works of art“.  Ten years later, this is even truer today as Charles continues his work which started over 35 years ago.

A self-taught artist, Charles began working with glass in 1975 and made the transition to exclusively building glass kaleidoscopes in 1979. Even in those early days of the kaleidoscope renaissance he was concerned with creating a crisp, vibrant, interior image in each piece -- exploring and developing mirror systems with crystal clear optics and unusual angles that would produce rich, ever-changing images.  Charles creates an interesting visual on the inside that coordinates with the design and color of each kaleidoscope’s exterior, achieving a color balance and maximizing the image’s intricacy and randomness.     

Although Charles considers the kaleidoscope’s exterior to be an important, integral part of the overall design, he considers the interior image to be critical. To perfect the interior, Charles has created more than a dozen different mirror systems, ranging from three to 24 inches in length, and each unique to a particular style of exterior.

His work is constantly evolving and improving, pushing the art form to higher and higher quality standards. He has personally designed and created over 15,000 hand-built all glass kaleidoscopes since 1979, including over 140 designs including open editions, limited editions and one of a kinds.  A note on his workbench reads, “How can I make a kaleidoscope better?”  This statement shows his drive and desire to always move forward and improve.

Charles works alone in his studio in Damascus, Maryland making each part of every kaleidoscope by hand. There are no machined parts. Every piece -- down to the smallest shard of glass in the object chamber -- is hand worked and individually selected by the artist himself. This thoughtful attention to every detail enables Charles to create beautifully intricate and detailed images that capture and hold the viewer’s attention.

In addition, by making every piece himself, Charles ensures that each kaleidoscope has its own unique personality, produced to the artists’ own high standards of quality -- being built (as he says himself) to last lifetimes. Every piece is an original, signed, and numbered work of art.

The contemporary kaleidoscope renaissance began in the early 1980’s and Charles Karadimos has played a very active role in perpetuating and promoting this incredible interactive art form from the very beginning.  Whether through his extraordinary work as an artist spanning over 35 years, via his work as a director of the Brewster Kaleidoscope Society for the past 10 years or by his large projects like the Kaatskill Kaleidoscope, Charles has led the way.

Projects which Charles participated on include:

·         Built the 38 foot tall mirror system that became the “optical heart” of the Kasatskill Kaleidoscope. The world’s tallest kaleidoscope at the time.

·         Created a kaleidoscope coloring book which contains 26 challenging drawings to color.  The mandala drawings are generated from actual kaleidoscope images.

·         Commissioned in 2005 to design one of the largest kaleidoscopes in the world in Qingdao, China, home for part of the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Playing golf and spending time with friends occupy the major portion of Charles' leisure time. He is happiest and most comfortable on a golf course or interacting with his friends. The qualities of balance and variety are reflected in his philosophy as well as his activities and skill. In his own words, "Kaleidoscopes represent what is important in a harmonious life-great diversity living together in one place, creating order out of chaos." 


View Charles Karadimos scopes.

View the Charles Karadimos Contact Page.

View the Charles Karadimos Coloring Book Page.

View the Charles Karadimos - Karascopes website.


 Click on the CBS Sunday Morning logo

                          to see the August 16, 2009

                     broadcast featuring Charles Karadimos.

                               (This will redirect you to

                           the Brewster Society website) 

         Click on the Maryland Life logo

                          to see the September 26, 2011

                     article featuring Charles Karadimos.

Below is an interview with Charles Karadimos from the 2011 Brewster Kaleidoscope Society convention.