Monday, July 8, 2013

Recycled materials to make a mobile like Calder

Calder Mobile
I've talked about Alexander Calder with a few of you over the years but he is not an artist we have regularly learned about.  What makes him especially interesting is that he once lived in the Berkshires and the Museum has many of his early works in an interactive exhibit.  You can learn more about the exhibit by clicking this link. Along with his early work with toys, Calder is best known for his sculptural work with stables and mobiles.   Stables don't move, mobiles are sculptures that move.  Here is a photo of one of his works.

You can construct your own mobile with just a few objects you will find around your house.  Here is the list:
Empty plastic milk or water container (1/2 gallon size works best)
3 pipe cleaners or old telephone wire like the twistee wire we use at school
9 paper clips
sharpie or other permanent type marker
hole punch

Have an adult cut the spout and bottom off of the carton and discard or save for a later project.  Next cut the carton in half so you can have a rectangular piece of plastic to work with.  Use the marker and trace or draw a shape(s) of your choice onto the plastic.  I cut out hearts.   Make them big, at least 3" or bigger.  Cut out a minimum of four shapes.  If you cut more,  you will need one pipe cleaner for every two shapes you make and extra paper clips, too.
Now, using the sharpie, decorate the shapes with lines and shapes.  Make some lines thick by putting more pressure on your marker and some thinner with lighter pressure.  Use color markers and color in some of the sections if you would like.  Make the patterns and designs interesting.  You will only need to draw on one side of each shape.  Punch a small hole at the top of each shape to thread the paper clips through.
Next, fold each pipe cleaner in half and twist a small circle at the top.  You will use the circles to connect everything together.  Make an open hook at the end of each pipe cleaner.  Here are some photos to help.

The view is prettier here but no
movement because the air is not
circulating enough
Hang to get them to move
in front of the air conditioner
worked well.
Use paper clips to attach the shapes to
the pipe cleaners. A paper clip is attached at the top to hang it with as well.  Bend the ends of the pipe cleaner all the way on itself to keep the paper clips from slipping off of the end.
Just like Alexander Calder, you have created a mobile!

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