Friday, February 11, 2011

Art With Children - Calder Inspired Valentine's Mobiles


We started listening to Blue Balliett's The Calder Game, today. It's the third title in an art themed mystery series for tweens, and the only one currently in at our library. As the title suggests, this volume centers on the work of Alexander Calder(Calder is also the name of one of the main characters), and starts out at a Calder art exhibit.

After listening to the first few chapters of praise for the artist's work, particularly his mobiles, the children were ready to Google some of them themselves, and then see if they could put together a mobile of their own (at least the older girls, for that latter part).

I supplied them with a number of construction paper hearts, string -which proved to be a little hard for them to work with, tape - which was easier to work with, if not as pretty, and thin wood dowels cut into a few different lengths.


I thought they would work together to make one mobile, but they decided they had different designs in mind, and each made their own.


A (age 9) went with a very simple design, just taping three rows of hearts to strings, attached to one dowel.


Even so, getting them balanced proved difficult for her. The girls were surprised to learn, that something as lightweight as paper, could throw off the balance of their dowels, so much.


And, our art project quickly turned into a science project, as we worked out how to add weight to the dowel with extra pieces of tape, to balance the piece.



G (age 11), put more work into her design, cutting and decorating her hearts, and then layering them between three dowels.


I think both girls picked up a greater appreciation for the complexity of Calder's work. And,even with their simple designs, we've all gained a clearer understanding of the term "kinetic sculpture". Just the slight breeze of the heater running keeps the girl's mobiles gently turning, and changing, both in relation to themselves, and to each other, in a way that's quite mesmerizing.


They ought to make a nice backdrop, as we head deeper into the story.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

12 comments:

Debbie said...

Those are such pretty mobiles.

Elise said...

What gorgeous creations to have for Valentine's day. It sounds as though problem solving was the order of the day to get these just right. They look wonderful.

Joyful Learner said...

I love Calder and the mobiles you all made! It sounds like they got the essence of his work! You use such wonderful books! Where do you find out about them?

Chelsea said...

We absolutely loved all three of those books. They are fantastic!

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Joyful Learner - I Google a lot :) "Math themed books for children", "Calder for kids", "Geometry in art for children"...

Christy said...

They did a great job! I love the mobiles.

Joyful Learner said...

When do you have time to do all the planning? I'm having a hard time utilizing all the resources I already have!

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Joyful Learner - It's usually just off the cuff, what hits us that day, and what I can scramble together. Generally, I'm about one step behind where I'd like to be :)

Phyllis said...

Those are very pretty!

Raising a Happy Child said...

I love how different two mobiles turned out and also how much they learned from working on it. I have to remember about this series when Anna is a bit older.

Ticia said...

Those are so pretty. I remember having to make a mobile in junior high and mine was not balanced or really attempted to.

Judy Jowers said...

A parent volunteer at our school made similar mobiles using thin green floral wire (bent at the point of balance, in place of chopsticks) and even added a jingle bell. The mobiles are currently in the classroom gently dancing above the students desks as they hang from the ceiling.