Happy Monday, Friends!
Well, both of those things can happen!
First we'll introduce you to an artist who created moving art sculpture called mobiles. Then we'll learn how you can create your own mobile from things you have at home.
One of his most important works is located outside the United States in a country named Venezuela. Can you find Venezuela on a map or a globe? It's in South America.
This giant mobile sculpture is located in an auditorium named Aula Magna at the University City of Caracas in Venezuela. Originally, the plan was for Floating Clouds, which Calder sometimes referred to as Flying Saucers, to be located on the grounds outside the building.
Because the Aula Magna had poor acoustics (that means it was hard to hear inside the building), the mobile was moved inside to help with the problem. Guess what! It worked! Now, many people say the auditorium has the best acoustics in the world!
Isn't that cool? A piece of art originally just meant to be seen is helping people hear music and voices better!
Seeing Calder's art
It would be a long trip to go to Caracas to see Floating Clouds! But you also can see Calder's work here in the United States. Below is a mobile he created in 1953 called Triple Gong. It's at the National Art Gallery in Washington, D.C.
He also has work in collections at New York City museums including the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
It is called Cascading Flowers and was created by Calder in 1949.
Does it remind you of flowers?
If it does, what kinds of flowers do you see?
Do you think watching this mobile move would be relaxing?
Want to know more about Alexander Calder? Click on the button below and you can visit the Calder Foundation website, where you can see his artwork, including mobiles, sculptures and paintings. You also can find videos of films made about Calder and his work many years ago!
Now, let's make a mobile!
Here are the materials you will need:
- A wire coat hanger
- String, florist wire or fishing line
- Card stock, construction paper or cardboard
- Scissors (ask your parent to help!)
- Crayons, markers or paint if you want to decorate your cutout piece
- You can use small objects instead of or in addition to paper if you want
- All the materials from Style 1
- Wire cutting tool (you'll definitely need an adult's help with this!)
- Draw shapes on your card stock or paper. They can be anything you like. You might try flowers, animal outlines or just funny shapes. Color them with your crayons, markers or paint if you want. Use as much or as little detail as you want.
- Tie the shapes to the coat hanger so that they hang free a few inches below the wire.
- Get your adult to help you find a place to hang your mobile. It can be indoors or outside. Just make sure it can hang freely.
- The breeze outside or air currents inside the house will make your mobile move!
- Get your adult to use the wire cutting tool to snip pieces of the coat hanger or other stiff wire into two different lengths. You want the long piece to be at least 6 inches long and the short piece to be about 4 inches long.
- Draw shapes on your card stock or paper. They can be anything you like. You might try flowers, animal outlines, or just funny shapes. Color them with your crayons, markers or paint if you want. Use as much or as little detail as you want. You will want to make at least 3 shapes.
- Using your string, tie one of your shapes to one end of the long stiff wire.
- Tie a string and hang the short wire at least 1 inch the long wire. You want them to be horizontal.
- You will need one more string tied to the long wire. This is the one you will use to hang your mobile later.
- Tie your other two shapes to short wire, one near each end so they won't touch.
- Now, this is the tricky part, and you may need help from your adult. Hold your mobile by the long wire, you will need to slide the string on the short wire until the two objects are balanced. If they are the same size and weight, that will be at the middle. If one is a little bigger, the string will have to be closer to the larger object.
- Once the short wire is balanced, slide the string that you will use to hang the mobile along the long wire until it is balanced. As you can see from our example, it also will have be located near the most weight, which will probably be the side attached to the short wire.
- Once your mobile is balanced, tie a loop in the top of the string and hang it from a hook or any place where it can move freely. Watch the air currents bring your art to life!