Bob and Grace Ade

The Ades

Grace and Bob Ade began their business careers making candles in their candle studio located on the lower level of their New Jersey home. While working for the 3M Company, Bob learned how to use urethane materials to make molds of objects that could then be replicated in candle wax including cut glass crystal, animal shapes, mushrooms, Christmas trees and a silver-leaf impregnated wedding candle. With the help of their 6 children they also made traditional 2", 3" and 4" diameter round pillar candles in various colors. Grace Ade says, “A funny sight was when Bob would rent a truck to pick up 10,000 lb. loads of wax from a refinery and the kids would help unload it from the truck and haul it into the studio on wagons and wheel barrows”.

Interest in art glass and glass objects at art fairs led Grace and Bob to take stained glass classes in Bristol Tennessee in 1982. Then discovering a stained glass scope in a gift shop led to making stained glass scope models and the hobby quickly grew into a business as scopes became a favorite at the artist co-op they were members of in Abingdon, Virginia. Subsequent classes on glass fusing (Roanoke Virginia in 1984) and glass blowing (Pratt Fine Art Center, Seattle Washington in 1996) extended the range of techniques the Ades could apply to their scopes.

The Ades constantly tried to create interesting images from their scopes.  This is evident by the range of different techniques they use in the approximately 40 different models of kaleidoscopes they have created.  “Sunburst” and “Diamonds” are two of their poly-angular kaleidoscopes. The viewer may manipulate the internal mirrors to create greater or fewer number of segments or points in the image. Their “Crystal” models are a series of limited editions that feature unusual three dimension faceted crystal-like images that seem suspended in space. “Ice Flowers” containing polarizing filters was specifically designed to allow the viewer to create images that are delicate colorful snowflake shaped ice crystals.

Their home in the suburban Seattle Washington community of Mukilteo was selected because it contained enough space for a suitable studio and had an inspirational view overlooking the inland Pacific Ocean waters of Puget Sound. They outgrew the space originally allocated for the studio and it now occupies the former 400 square foot recreation room and spills into many other parts of their house. The main studio has a traditional stained glass cutting table, soldering table, assembly station, lamp working station, sheet glass storage and a 3' x 4' glass kiln for the fusing and slumping operations. A former wet bar in the house is now used for mirror honing and UV cementing of glass components. They also do the wet drilling (eye holes) there. The laundry room has a stacking washer and dryer but everything else in the room is for glass grinding, cleaning and finishing scopes plus a second glass kiln. The garage stores the packing materials and a workbench has a bench grinder and wet belt sander. The kitchen table is where the glass foiling operation takes place as well as selecting pieces for filling cells.

Grace and Bob have six children, five of whom live near them in the Greater Seattle area. Some of them help them occasionally make scopes when they have large orders. Bob has retired from sales, marketing and management positions with several Fortune 500 companies. He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University which has been useful in designing and building scopes.

Grace and Bob’s favorite activities are travel in the United States and many other countries along with photography.

The Ades scope collection consists of scopes from other artists they traded with, party favors from the 17 Brewster Society conventions they have attended and door prizes won at the conventions.

Future scope plans are to continually try to improve scope making techniques and create interesting images, mirror systems, cases and object cells.


View Bob and Grace Ade scopes.

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Below is a video showing Grace and Bob making their Poncho kaleidoscope (two parts to the video).