Thursday, July 21, 2011

Artist Love - Alexander Calder

... (& 'About Me' ... working with kids!)

Something you may or may not know about me - is that I help out at my son's primary school, alongside the teacher, doing Arts and Crafts with the 'Kindy' (Kindergarten) class. These are the kids in my son's class, they range from age 4-6, there are 24 of them,  so it's quite hectic, sometimes noisy and ALWAYS lots of fun!!

At the end of this school term, the school will be having an Art Show! Not surprisingly I have been 'roped in' to help out!! Of course I am delighted to be involved.   :0)

One of the things we will be doing is making Alexander Calder inspired wire sculptures!
Here is some of the inspiration I have acquired for this project - the teacher, *Ms Superstar, and I have not yet worked out a project, with suitable processes, materials etc.  But I wanted to share these images with you, because whether or not you are familiar with Calder yourself, his work is just awesome!!
{* not her real name - but it SHOULD be!!}

images }


I have to be honest, as part of my Textile Design degree, we rarely touched on ANY art history, and although I was familiar with the name Alexander Calder, I was not terribly familiar with his work. It's fabulous don't you think?

Here's a brief bio:  ALEXANDER CALDER.

{Calder - image via Britannica}

Calder, was one of America’s most famous sculptors; he lived from 1898 - 1976.

He studied Mechanical Engineering but was to become a very versatile artist, creating lithographs, toys, paintings, tapestry and even designing carpets. 

He was responsible for the invention of the mobile. 

Calder's most well known work features perfectly balanced mobiles, which were comprised of brightly coloured shapes,  hanging delicately by wire, spreading out from a central wire. Hovering in the air, twisting and turning around - as if by magic!

He began with Toys in the 1920's, moving on to working with wire sculptures and mobiles.
In the 1950s, Calder began to focus on huge, monumental sculptures, many of which would become his most famous works. He created some such pieces for JFK airport in 1957 and UNESCO in Paris in 1958.

Bobine (1970), National Gallery of AustraliaCanberra, Australia (image from Wiki )

Lithographs above from RoGallery
 1. Bird's Nest 1971
2.Derrier le Miroir (Abstract II) 1968
3.Derrier le Miroir (Abstract IV) 1968
Take care,
love Sally x0x


  1. Hi Sally I am a big fan of the 'calder', I have a print in my fun room ,bought from the 'loft' in tokyo. I love the primary bold colours and the curvy shapes (just like me). ha ha. I have been immersed in creativity over the last week prowling the streets of soho, Greenwich and the dark streets of Brooklyn, in a heat wave. Wool. Would you like to catch up for coffee over a conversation about buttons next week.

  2. I did a lesson on Alexander Calder back in my art teaching days with kids. We used paper plates, a hole punch, yarn, and construction paper cutouts for the mobile. The kids also painted each side of the plate with warm and cool colors. The theme was night and day, so their cutouts were the sun, moon, stars, etc. But, you could make it any kind of theme! Good luck!

  3. Oh wow Roberta, sounds like you've been having fun in NY!
    I'll contact you re. next week (I am having an Op. so may have to see how I am going! :) ).

  4. Oh thanks for sharing that Katherine.
    That sounds like a really good idea!
    I believe our theme is change and transformation.
    Sally :)

  5. Makes me think of a butterfly!

  6. What is it about simple shapes and lines that make things so fantastic? I remember his 'mobile sculptures' from art history classes back when I was studying art. His work is fascinating. It should be loads of fun with the kids and Ms Superstar... ;-)