Carolyn Bennett was born and raised in upstate New York. Her father was a dentist and guitar maker. Her mother was an accomplished porcelain painter and teacher. Fascination with kaleidoscopes began as a young child. In 1959 at the age of nine she made her first kaleidoscope from instructions in a 1917 edition of The Book of Knowledge, an old encyclopedia.
Carolyn earned a BA in Fine Arts from New York University and a MA in Art History and Art Education from the State University of New York.
In 1973, while teaching high school art, Carolyn began to make kaleidoscopes again. An interest that began as a hobby quickly became a passion. In 1978 she began her career as a full time kaleidoscope artist. Through the years C.Bennett Scopes grew and relocated at least eight times.
Carolyn considers kaleidoscopes a contemporary art form and continues to do extensive research and experimentation. She is now considered to be one of the pioneers of the modern kaleidoscope movement. Her kaleidoscopes have been sold all over the world. Each of her kaleidoscopes is designed to be an interesting piece of sculpture, with the exterior as intriguing as the interior. She approaches the inner image as if it were a painting, combining colors and shapes to create complex and infinite patterns. The discovery of an ever unfolding world of color, art, philosophy, and beauty within the kaleidoscope continues to inspire her.
From 2003-2009 Carolyn was one of the Directors of the Brewster Kaleidoscope Society, an international organization for kaleidoscope enthusiasts started 1986 by the late Cozy Baker.
In 2003, Carolyn was granted a United States patent for the “The Pop-Up Kaleidoscope”. This ingenious invention folds flat and opens to become a working kaleidoscope. She has also been granted a United States patent for the Scopelens, a kaleidoscopic attachment for a 35 mm camera.
Published by Workman Publishing in 1994, Carolyn’s Kids’ Book of Kaleidoscopes sold over 175,000 copies. A complete re-write and redesign of the Kid’s Book of Kaleidoscopes will be published by Workman in 2012.
In 1996 the Futura Kaleidoscope received the prestigious Niche Award from Niche Magazine.
In 1998 she was the recipient of the Special Achievement Award for Continuing Contributions of Excellence given by the Brewster Society, an organization for kaleidoscope artists and collectors. In 2010 her emphasis on affordable quality kaleidoscopes was recognized as Scopes with Best Value by the BKS.
Carolyn is also an accomplished photographer. Her Photo Visions Calendar is an example of the way she sees through the lens. On-going photo projects include a series of images of antique objects call Boxlots, and glimpses of the beautiful farmlands that surround her home in rural South Jersey. Take a look at Carolyn’s Photography.