“Maker of Things Mischievious and Always on the Move”

The mobile has been one of my favorite art forms since I was a baby in my crib. About 3 years ago, I was inspired to take a stab at making my own. I’ve since rediscovered the infantile pleasure of waking up on a Saturday morning and lazily watching the doves’ kiss one another (second only to racing my floaters against a blue sky backdrop). Like quilting, I love the elements of patience, planning, and math required in the mobile sculpting process.  Someday my collection will rival my dentist Edward J. Welch’s, and I will have a mobile hanging in every room.  In the meantime, I’ll continue to admire the following artists’ complex balance work.  Today I bring you a guided tour of my favorite mobile sculptors and their designs.  Enjoy!

Snow Flurry by Alexander Calder

Snow Flurry by Alexander Calder

Alexander Calder is the father of mobiles. He created the first truly kinetic sculpture (actually dubbed “mobile” by Marcel Duchamp) in 1931. I was lucky to see an exhibit of his work at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago this past October. Most of his early designs were made with metal; however:

When the United States entered World War II, Calder applied for entry to the Marine Corps but was ultimately rejected. He continued to create: because metal was in short supply during the war years, Calder turned increasingly to wood as a sculptural medium. Working in wood resulted in yet another original form of sculpture, works called “constellations” by Sweeney and Duchamp. With their carved wood elements anchored by wire, the constellations were so called because they suggested the cosmos, though Calder did not intend that they represent anything in particular.


Carbon-Based (hommage à Primo Levi) by Stephen Kawai

Carbon-Based (hommage à Primo Levi) by Stephen Kawai

I don’t know much about Stephen Kawai, but he seems to have strong opinions about representation and abstraction in mobiles. He incorporates unique weighted objects into his pieces like marbles, stones, feathers, and shells. His sculptures caught by attention for how much they resemble complex solar systems.

Aspen by Jan R. Carson

Aspen by Jan R. Carson

Jan R. Carson designs are inspired by “the balance of strength and fragility in nature.” She makes them from lightly starched silk, fine gauge stainless wire, and hand tools. She seems a little new age-y, but if she lived closer, I’d still beg her for an apprenticeship. Locals can find her designs at Pinch Gallery (where I got my mouse ornament).

Balloon Mobile 5 by Flensted Mobiles

Balloon Mobile 5 by Flensted

Flensted is a Danish family business created in 1954 by Christian and Grethe Flensted. Their first design was a lucky stork mobile to celebrate the baptism of their daughter Mette. Christian has been nicknamed the “Uromager” (see title of post for translation). Again, if you’re a lucky local, you can find whimsical Flensted designs at Scandihoovians.


1 Response to ““Maker of Things Mischievious and Always on the Move””

  1. 1 Han January 17, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    love it! i want one!!!

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