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  • Bob Tupa

Biography/Artist Statement


Bob Tupa's interest in kaleidoscopes started as a child when he was searching through his grandmother's attic and found the kaleidoscope that was made as a shop project by his father in high school. His father was an automotive research mechanical engineer and one of his father’s hobbies was woodworking. So those skills were passed down. One day at a local hardware store there were several boxes of broken window glass. The business allowed him to have several boxes for free and so there was sufficient material to learn how to cut glass. He progressed to incorporate colored glass into terrariums and lampshades. After starting in medical practice, he met a patient who owned his own stained-glass business. This gentleman was an artist trained in Italy to do Cathedral Windows as well as many other applications. Over the years that association as well as others have allowed for expanded skills in manipulating glass. This includes working with oxy-propane torche lampwork as well as kiln work. Over the years there has been a strong interest in art and design. This was fostered in the family. His sister was a graphic artist who trained at and taught at the Cleveland Institute of Art. His wife pursued a major in art at Ursuline College. He then became more familiar with jewelry, metalwork, enameling, and ceramics,. Attention to the visual was further enhanced with an additional hobby of photography. So the interest in these different fields started to naturally come together making kaleidoscopes. He first started making kaleidoscopes 10 to 15 years ago but since retirement has been able to concentrate more attention to materials and methods. He joined the Brewster society approximately 4 years ago. Courses at the annual meetings have helped solve some technical issues with object cells etc. Plans are to continue to explore blending natural materials and particularly figured woods into scope design. Other aspects to explore are different mirror systems, lighting, and manipulating image design where there is no mirror.