The Scope of Innovation

The two-wheeled designs first pioneered by Janice Chesnik are captivating, yet rarely if ever imitated.

Dan Cutrona

Jon Greene sometimes sits on a bench outside Cape Kaleidoscopes—his business in Mashpee Commons—and listens to the skeptical reactions of people strolling past the corner store. “They’ll look and say, ‘Are you kidding?’” he laughs. “People have a hard time conceptualizing a store that sells only kaleidoscopes. They’ll ask, ‘You can make a living doing this?’”

In the world of kaleidoscopes, Greene is considered one of its finest artists. He modestly boasts that no one knows more about kaleidoscopes before his wife, Suzanne, playfully interjects. “Except for your mom.”

Greene’s mother, Janice Chesnik, began making kaleidoscopes in 1980. With the exception of occasional retail art and craft fairs, her unique “Chesnik Scopes” were available only through galleries until Greene opened Cape Kaleidoscopes last April. Greene began making kaleidoscopes in 1990 and took over the business in 2007. His mother still works for him four or five days a month, he says.

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Rob Duca is a freelance writer living in Plymouth.

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