Thursday, May 03, 2012

Art Tuesday: Kinetic Art

A few weeks ago, Ginger, Poppy, and I were stranded.  We'd brought the van in for some repairs, and it was going to take several hours longer than expected.  I had a backpack of activities neither of them wanted to do, no stroller, and the unpleasant discovery that the gumball machine the girls have come to associate with getting the car fixed was no longer in the waiting area.  We were in a part of town I didn't know well, but it was a beautiful spring day, so I whipped out the mighty iPhone and searched for anything interesting within walking distance. 

Turned out there was a library just two blocks away, so we meandered over and spent the better part of a morning lounging on beanbags, playing with puzzles, and reading lots and lots of books.  Poppy's not picky.  If she can reach it, and pull it off the shelf, it's her new favorite, and she insists on me reading it aloud while she goes to pick another. 

One that she brought me was Alexander Calder and His Magical Mobiles.  I love mobiles, and Calder has a huge one at the National Gallery, as well as a room of other smaller mobiles and sculptures.  So while the mechanics labored away, chuckling at how much they were going to charge me, and the girls built and demolished towers of foam blocks, I got a quick primer on the artist behind the balance, and I knew what I wanted to do for our next Art Tuesday.
Rouge Triomphant, 1959-1963

Of course, when I went back to my library, they didn't have the same book, not in the entire Arlington system.  Grrr.  But, just to show some examples of his work, I did check out The Essential Alexander Calder and Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy.

We started the afternoon discussing what a sculpture is, and how it is made.  Then we talked about moving sculptures, then hanging sculptures, or mobiles. 
Cone d'ebene, 1933
I showed a few examples and we briefly discussed the concept of balance, and how it is achieved.  Then we broke out the supplies - markers, glue, paper, beads, feathers, googly eyes, string, and of course coat hangers - and each child set to work with the charge to make at least two creations to hang and balance.

You never know how Art Tuesday is going to go.  Paint, markers, and glue are often big hits, but sometimes the projects are too hard, or too easy, too narrowly defined, or too broad.  Plus each child's interest level is a moving target from month to month.  So you never know.  We just try things and see what happens.

I'm happy to report that our Kinetic Art afternoon was a booming success.  Attention spans reached record lengths, and creativity flowed like the rivers of beads that spilled onto the floor and scattered in all directions.  Everyone got to make something that was unique to them.  And I finally found something good about my totally weird entry light fixture: it's perfect for hanging mobiles.

*And speaking of mobiles, if you grown-ups are feelin' crafty, here are some clever ones you can make for your next party, or...whatever!

1 comment:

tona said...

Wow, these are great and I loved the link to the vellum ones, too! Very creative!! Your home is perfect to get that midcentury modern thing going. Awesome.

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