A lady named Cozy Baker died this week. “Cozy Who?” you might ask. I doubt that most folks here would ever have heard of her. But to a small universe of artists and appreciators, she was a grande dame, a patron, a saint, a goddess — and even better, a bright, creative, and generous spirit. Cozy Baker founded the Brewster Kaleidoscope Society and is the person most responsible for the modern revival of the kaleidoscope as an artform. She wrote a number of books (including the world’s first-ever book on kaleidoscopes) and encouraged both artists and collectors. Today, ‘scopes are used to treat autistic and hyperactive children, to help cancer patients, and to deepen meditation.
Hazel Cozette Baker died of ovarian cancer in her 80s. I never met her, and that’s my loss.
I mention her here not just because I think kaleidoscopes are works of wonder. She’s worthy of honor even if kaleidoscopes to you are nothing but amusing toys, and even if you think she was nothing but some privileged lady with too much time on her hands. It’s the reason she “got into” kaleidoscopes that matters. Her son was killed by a drunken driver, and eventually she used her grief to transform her own, and others’, lives.
The things we can do with grief, anger, despair, frustration, and depression when we creatively work through them …