Tickle’s kaleidoscopes gleam at Upstairs Gallery

Published 10:26 pm Sunday, December 15, 2013

Kaleidescopes by Marc Tickle

Kaleidescopes by Marc Tickle

Marc Tickle makes award-winning kaleidoscopes, the kind collectors and museums add to their collections.

Art seen through an optical lens and manipulated by the viewer to create patterns of color and form as they are lifted to the light. Yet every aspect of them, from the glittering paper-lined, glass cylinders to the arrangement of the internal mirrors and hand-cut glass pieces that slip and slide into intricate brilliant patterns have been precisely engineered by an artist who himself followed a less than precise map to arrive at this vocation.

Marc Tickle

Marc Tickle

Indeed, one can imagine a Puck-like muse leading the university-educated Tickle from humor illustration, to stained glass restoration to editing a book on kaleidoscopes for a friend 25 years ago and eventually to a life in Asheville.

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“The next day, after editing the book, I built my first kaleidoscope,” says Tickle, who is sought by collectors for his three-dimensional imaging.  “I found I loved the blending of art with science, the precision of it all.”

He had found his calling and has never looked back. The  path led him 10 years ago across the pond from England to Asheville, a new studio and new life with wife, Jessy with whom he welcomed a son, Ollie, four months ago.

His website, www.onreflection.com, offers a glimpse of the magic he creates with pyrex or acryllic tubing, mirrors, hand-painted archival papers, hand-cut colored glass, gilding and sculpting.  But it is when you hold one of his pieces that the real magic happens.  Whether it is the simple, more traditional pieces made from hand-painted and “slumped” glass with sculpted pewter decorations gilding the case, you feel the quality that comes only from attention to every detail.

“Every piece of glass inside was designed and cut expressly for this piece,” he says as he points out the lining paper that he has gilded, the glass he has sculpted to a soothing pale green curve and the jaunty silver gecko climbing it.  “Everything was precisely made for this piece.”

The name “kaleidoscope” comes from the joining of the Greek words for beautiful, form, and to see.   Originally intended as a scientific tool to study light polarization, it was copied as a toy in later years, with most kaleidoscopes still mass-produced as children’s toys today.  It is only craftsman and artists such as Tickle who have raised them to the level of art worthy of inclusion in museum collections. Tickle’s pieces can be found in several museums in Japan, where the optical art is popular, and in Strathmore Hall in Washington, DC.

Tickle is one of the many fine artists whose work can be found at the Upstairs Artspace Wonderland Holiday Gift Bazaar over the next month. The gift show continues  Dec. 16  and ends at  4 p.m., Dec. 24.  Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays during the bazaar.  More than 20 artists will be represented with a variety of unique and creative handcrafted pieces in all mediums and price ranges.

The Upstairs Artspace gallery is located at 49 South Trade Street in Tryon. To see examples of Marc Tickle’s beautiful kaleidoscopes, teleidoscopes, optical illusions and sculptures, go to www.onreflection.com

– article submitted by

Clare O’Sheel