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 <<CityNews Main Send Flowers to India!
Send Gifts to India!

Kaleidoscope Shop
A World of Colors & Patterns


Kaleidoscope Shop
2186 Henderson Mill Road, Atlanta, GA 30345

Bobby Boal is as vibrant as the myriad kaleidoscopes that color her store. She narrates details of her family’s India trip in the summer of 1967, rattling off names of places and people like it happened yesterday.

She points at artifacts from India that are among the thousands of gift items in her store. There are carved jewelry boxes, ornate elephants, fancy bindis and more. These gift items are interesting additions to the shop’s unique identity as Georgia’s only kaleidoscope shop.

Kaleidoscope Shop located in Briarcliff Village, just across Briarcliff Road from Northlake Mall is home to thousands of scopes representing more than 100 different artists. For owners Bobby and her husband Jan Boal, a former Math professor and Head of Department at the Georgia State University, the shop is the outcome of a passion for scopes that was ignited in the early 1980s during the kaleidoscope renaissance.

“As children, my sister and I thought kaleidoscopes were magical,” says Bobby. The patterns and colors of a kaleidoscope are interesting to any child. Later, in 1982 we heard that there was a renaissance and they were doing beautiful scopes with inlay wood and new things inside like sea shells, jewels and polarized material.”

The modest kaleidoscope of the 10 cent store had become an art form. The Boals met Cozy Baker, the first lady of kaleidoscopes, who was instrumental in popularizing scopes as an art form through books, TV interviews and exhibitions.

“She was very inspiring to us,” says Bobby.

The Boals opened shop in September 2006. Cozy Baker and 20 top artistes were invited to the opening. Since then, the Kaleidoscope Shop has been written about in several magazines, and featured on TV innumerable times.

Kaleidoscope Shop has scopes in every conceivable form. Gifts range from under a dollar to don’t ask. Bobby’s passion for kaleidoscopes is obvious as she gleefully describes scope after scope for this reporter.

There’s the tube scope that comes in a pretty cardboard box with the history of kaleidoscope inventor David Brewster in it. There are keychain scopes, jewelry scopes, teleidoscopes, and hundreds of other scopes, all within the $20 range.

The make-it-yourself kaleidoscope kits are an interesting gift idea for kids in the 8-13 age range with an interest in Science and Math.

There are other gift ideas too in the $3 to $20 range. Macho looking heavy metal puzzles. Little appliqué works of art created by refugees from the Hmong tribe. Old-world toys that are long gone from the shelves of department stores. And plenty of books.

Then there are the super gifts that are priced over $1000, each one an exquisite piece of art.

“They are either one of a kind, or are the only piece left,” explains Bobby. “Some of the scopes are from our private collection.”

There is the beautiful musical kaleidoscope by Mary Boll in blue stained glass and silver solder where a lighted votive candle adds to the colorful effect.

A large wooden geoscope breaks up pictures from a TV monitor into interesting possibilities.

“The Bourbon Street” was made by designer Sheryl Smith for the New Orleans kaleidoscope convention in 2002. It has mardi gras beads, peacock feathers and a mask that captures the carnival spirit.

The “Carousel” plays “Danny Boy” as crystal and jade horses turn around the riding wheel.

A Georgia Peach scope from this collection was gifted by the Boals to Governor Sonny Perdue. The Georgia Peach’s oil filled cell contains about two-dozen Georgia/Atlanta landmark-icons in miniature. The Governor was delighted to receive such a special scope, says Bobby.

A visit to the Kaleidoscope Shop is well worth the effort. While you can always find something that interests you and fits your budget, the dazzle of endless possibilities in patterns and colors uplifts your spirits instantly. It is not long before Bobby Boal’s enthusiasm rubs off on to you!

Copyright © 2004. All rights reserved.