Randy Knapp is a self-taught artist. Born and raised in the sun swept hills of eastern Oregon. His earlier career began in a glass shop where for ten years he worked to become a master glazier.
In his spare time he pursued his love for woodworking. Growing tired of the everyday grind and feeling very passionate about the possibilities of woodworking. He struck out on his own and started Knapp Studios in 1988. Band saw wood boxes were the first item to show up in galleries on the west coast. But it did not take long for Randy to come across kaleidoscopes.
Kaleidoscopes are a natural fit for him because they are multimedia and combine many different skills. Glass cutting and woodturning, two of his favorites combined well. Lampworking and glass fusing were skills he learned to accentuate the work. And now he is well on his way to becoming a master machinist.
Since 1988 he has honed his skills and learned many new ones. The latest is ornamental turning. Randy’s interest in ornamental turning was sparked in the mid 1990 after him and his wife, Shelley, collaborated with an ornamental turner. Because Ornamental turning dates back to the 1700’s the machines are extremely rare and sought after as collectable antiques. Not being able to purchase an antique machine Randy built his own using modern materials in 2004. This has opened up a completely new avenue for Randy not just in kaleidoscopes but in woodturning in general.
The results of Randy and Shelley Knapp’s team work are well documented in several major kaleidoscope collections in the United States and Japan as well as many books and magazines. Their love for their art and working with their hands is evident in the things they make.