Grand Opening Celebration!


The Pocahontas facility of The Kaleidoscope Factory will be hosting a grand opening celebration on Saturday November 30, 2013.


Please join us! 10:00-5:00 and 7:30-8:30
214 North Main Street in downtown Pocahontas, Iowa

Here's a copy of the program for Saturday

Big changes are coming!  I will retain some presence in Pomeroy, but I'll be moving the "fun" work to Pocahontas.  A new lathe so you can watch kaleidoscopes being made and also a whole new toy- a CNC router.


The signs I've been making from my old barn are selling well. ( )  This will be an enhancement to the types of signs I can make as well as to other gift items I can create.


Tourism is a huge part of my business and Pocahontas has lots to offer to visitors.






Unique Shops -  

Believe Salon & Boutique
Kathy's Hallmark 
Mary's Bookshelf 
New Impressions
Paintings in Oil by Jerry Reiter
Princess City Floral 
Quilting on Main
Rhythm & Blooms Greenhouse
The Hot Spot Salon & Tanning
Thrifty Boutique/Re Decor

There's lots more to come, but for now you may follow our progress here:


Kathleen Johnson, a.k.a. Mistress Kathleen"will be entertaining us with two concerts that day. The first starts at 3 PM and the 2nd starts at 7:30 PM:

Please help me spread the word.  Here's a link to a pdf poster for the event.

“Mistress Kathleen"

Hammered Dulcimer Player,

her website

What's a hammered dulcimer?
Kathleen Johnson playing O'Carolan's Draught Kathleen Johnson singing Red is the Rose


Theologians say it is “predestiny”; philosophers call it “synchronicity”. No matter how you wish to label it, if you’ve had more than a few birthdays you’ve noticed many seemingly small events that proved to be pivotal in your life.  Regardless of how we perceive their source, we should accept these events as gifts to us.

For Kathleen Johnson, it happened like this.  “When I was playing street music in Germany, a total stranger came up to me and said that I should find an instrument that complimented my voice. I should play hammered dulcimer. Well, he said 'hackbrett' which does not translate well at all, 'hack' being to mince and 'brett' being a board. I had images of attacking a 2 by 4 with Ginsu knives.  But when I got back to Maryland I went to a store which sold hammered dulcimers. I approached a woman by the dulcimers and asked her if she knew how to play. I didn't know it at the time but I had just found Karen Ashbrook, player extraordinaire who literally wrote the book on how to play hammered dulcimer. All I can say is that if your first experience with the instrument had been Karen Ashbrook playing for you, you would now own a hammered dulcimer.

My first dulcimer which I had at the Maryland Renaissance Faire was a normal size instrument. Forward in time I found myself at the Colorado Renaissance Faire where I needed more notes so I upgraded to a larger instrument with an extra bridge of accidentals. Forward even further to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival where I play an even larger instrument with a whole extra course of notes. My husband says we can't move again because the dulcimer upgrade would require a larger vehicle. We just can't afford another Faire.”

“I started voice lessons in high school because I wanted to do Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, and that was challenging music for a 15 year old.  I sang lead in two shows, plus a few musicals, then went to Eastman School of Music which is a classical conservatory in Rochester, NY.  I became certified to teach, which from Eastman means I had to play a little bit on every instrument in the orchestra.  I thought I wanted to sing early church music, Bach and Handel.  But when I went on Fellowship to the University of Cologne in Germany, life changed.  While in Germany I met some highly musically educated street musicians who were having an amazing amount of fun, using improvisation and laughter where I had studied exactitude and seriousness.  I went out with them, using a guitar I could only strum, a set of spoons, a drum, and my classically trained soprano voice.  FUN!  Audiences would stop and stand for 30 minutes to listen to our sets, then they would pay us quite well.  We formed an Irish band, Colognie'O, and added some pubs and shops to our street venues.  When I got back to the States, I discovered the hammered dulcimer and Renaissance Fairs.  I added musical theater and choir conducting to my nights, and continued street music during the days. “

“My music is the music that has stood the test of time. When a song is written, it's like a gift thrown out into the world. Most of these gifts are enjoyed for a generation and then they disappear, but some of them continue to be passed down. They are with us 100, 200, 800 hundred years later. These are the songs that call to me. I love to imagine my 10x great grandmother singing this song, sending it to her harpsichord or lyre. Was she sad or frightened that Geordie was executed, or thrilled that justice was blind? Each generation reinterprets the stories and melodies, but if the songs truly speak to the human condition and they stay with us. That's traditional music. Those are the songs that call to me, those that have withstood the test of time.”

Questions?  email me at 

 Back to the Kaleidoscope Factory