Mobiles by Marco Mahler - Modern Hanging Kinetic Mobiles - 3D Printing Art - Custom Sculptures I make mobiles, art mobiles that is, mostly modern, and hanging kinetic art installations, ready-to-ship ones, custom sculptures and 3D printing art Tue, 21 Jul 2015 14:09:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Busy, Busy, Busy – Some of the Custom Mobiles I’m Currently Working On Tue, 14 Apr 2015 17:16:17 +0000 I’m sorry about the lack of blog posts lately, I’ve been very busy. Just for now, here are some of the custom mobiles I’m currently working:

Photo of Large Scale Mobile Installations

A custom mobile for a foyer at a private residence in Miami, Florida. A draft of the mobile photoshopped into the two level space:

Image of Custom Hanging Mobile

A three story custom mobile for a light well at a private residence in Chicago:

Image of Large Mobile Sculpture Multi Level

An additional design for the same space:

Render of Large Ceiling Sculptures Multi Level

A custom mobile for the Titus Elementary School in Warrington, PA:

Image of Hanging Moving Sculptures

Image of Large Custom Mobile

Image of Large Custom Mobiles

A custom mobile for a staircase at a private residence in Hong Kong:

Image of Hanging Mobiles

A proposal for a private residence in Miami Beach:

Image of Art Mobiles Miami Beach

Some (not yet made) ideas / mobile designs:

Image of Original Mobiles Design

Image of Fine Art Mobiles

Image of Artist Mobiles

A render of a Calder-style mobile:

Image of Mobile Calder Style

And sometimes all kinds of things break loose:

Image of Large Hanging Mobiles

I’m also working on an additional new large scale project that I’m very excited about and will be posting about soon.

– See more of my custom mobiles or read more of my blog about mobiles

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Q&A about Mobiles Wed, 04 Mar 2015 21:37:22 +0000 A few days ago I received an email from a middle school student who is working on a project for his math class about mobile art. His assignment was to research Alexander Calder or choose a different mobile artist to report on. He came across my website and sent me an email asking if he could send me some questions, which I was more than happy to answer. I just thought I’d post the questions and answers on my blog here as well (which also gives me the opportunity to post some images I’ve come up with but haven’t found a place for anywhere else on my website):

Image of Original Contemporary Art Mobile

Q: Well my first question for you is why do you think my math teacher wanted us to create a mobile and research a mobile artist?

A: My best guess would be because mobiles are fun to make, beautiful to look at, and are a great way to illustrate how math can be applied to real things. They also allow for easy experimenting.

Image of 3D Printed Sculpture Art

Q: Alexander Calder received a degree in mechanical engineering and told people that he was good at math. Do you have a math/science/computer background that helps when you develop your mobile art?

A: I got into applying math to computer animations when I was in middle school. My friend and I used the programming language Pascal. That was in the late 1980s so it was the early days of computer animation. I’m thinking if I stayed with it, I might be working at a film animation company now. In school, I also liked math and physics very much. With what I do now, those experiences probably gave me the ability to quickly determine if the balance structure of a mobile will work or not. Some of the 3d printed mobiles I designed a couple of years ago (in a collaboration with mathematician Henry Segerman) were created by writing scripts in the programming language Python. It was very easy for me to adapt to it because of my earlier experiences with Pascal. I’m also using engineering software more and more often, mostly a program called Rhinoceros, which I think will lead to being able to design rather complex mobiles eventually. And from time to time I’m working on animating 3d models of mobiles based on gravity, air currents and friction. When it comes to developing new designs, what I think matters the most is the ability to think about it in new ways and not just follow the same old patterns.

Image of Large Suspended Custom Sculpture

Q: You did lots of interesting things before you became a mobile artist. Do you think those other jobs helped make you a better artist?

A: I think they helped me to see myself as more than an artist. I see myself just as much as someone who runs a custom fabrication business, which involves all the standard parts of running a business (marketing, drawing up proposals, communicating with clients, inventory, shipping, etc). It’s not just about coming up with mobile designs that are fascinating to me. It’s also very important that the client will be very happy with the end result.

Image of Large Hanging Custom Sculpture

Q: Tell me about a favorite piece of work you created and why it’s one of your favorites.

A: I very much like working on large mobiles. Because of their size, they just have such an amazing visual impact. In general, there are several of my mobiles that I like very much because I think they’re rather original in design:

Image of Contemporary Mobiles Art Sculptures

I also very much liked working on the aforementioned collection of 3d printed mobiles. There was the excitement of experimenting in uncharted territory. To my knowledge, no one else has made fully 3d printed mobiles yet. It also allows for mobile designs that would be difficult to make by hand. When my work schedule allows it, I want to explore it further and see what other new designs are made possible by combining mobiles with 3d printing.

Image of Mirror Mobile with Reflective Walls

Q: Where do you get your ideas for individual pieces of art?

A: Sometimes I look at the space where the mobile will be installed. I look at the shapes and dynamics of the architecture, or the interior decorating style. Ideas usually emerge from that. Some clients who order custom made mobiles have specific ideas for the design, so I just fill in the parts where the client might be feel unsure about a certain design or technical aspect.

Thanks for the great questions, Aidan!

More interviews:
Behind The Virtual Storefront
Meet The Makers
The Edge
FAMO (in Italian)

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In Action – Photos of Me Installing Large Custom Mobiles Thu, 12 Feb 2015 15:46:33 +0000 Two photos of me installing three large custom mobiles at the Fair Oaks Marriott in Fairfax, Virginia:

Image of Marco Mahler

Photo of Marco Mahler

Thank you to Paula Benesch of P3 Design Collective for taking these photos!

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3rd Prize Winner – 2015 International Kinetic Art Competition Tue, 10 Feb 2015 18:07:31 +0000 I just found out that I won 3rd Prize in the 2015 International Kinetic Art Competition! I can’t quite believe it yet. Very exciting! The competition is organized by the Kinetic Art Organization as part of the International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium in Boynton Beach, Florida.

Kinetic Art Sculptures Mobiles Organization

The Kinetic Art Organization was founded in 2001 and its database and archive is now the largest compendium of Kinetic Art and sculptures information, photos and videos in the world. With over 1,000 members in over 60 Countries, they are also the largest kinetic art and sculpture organization in the world.

Here’s my winning entry, three large custom mobiles that I designed, made and installed at the Fair Oaks Marriott in Fairfax, Virginia last fall:

Photo of Large Mobiles

See more photos

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Working on What Might Become a Very Large (207ft / 63m) Suspended Kinetic Art Installation Mon, 26 Jan 2015 13:00:56 +0000 Working on what might become a very large (207ft / 63m long) suspended kinetic art installation at the departure concourse at Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, Jamaica:

Image of Large Hanging Art Installation

Image of Large Suspended Art Installation

Image of Large Custom Art Sculpture

Renders of the suspension (designed with Rhino):

Image of Large Kinetic Art Sculpture

Image of Large Moving Art Installation

Image of Large Ceiling Art Sculpture

Image of Large Hanging Art Installation

Building the maquette (small scale model):

Image of Large Suspended Art Installation

Image of Large Custom Art Installation

Photo of Large Hanging Moving Art Installation

The design is by Tina Spiro with me and Ervin Nichol and inspired by the Petchary, a bird that migrates between the southeastern United States and Central America (including Jamaica):

Photo of Gray Kingbird also know as Petchary

See more of my custom hanging kinetic art sculptures or read more of my blog about mobiles and suspended kinetic art installation.

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New Article I Wrote Is Featured on Houzz Today: “Art in Motion: The Story behind Mobiles” Wed, 17 Dec 2014 16:52:22 +0000 Houzz is featuring a new article I wrote today: Art in Motion: The Story Behind Mobiles. It covers topics such as what mobiles are, the history of mobiles (including Alexander Calder of course), fine art mobiles, mobiles today, and how I became a professional mobile maker.

Image of Fine Art Mobiles Original Ceiling Sculptures Calder

– Read of my blog about mobiles

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Google’s Alexander Calder Doodle Mobile Wouldn’t Work in Reality Tue, 16 Dec 2014 16:00:00 +0000 On July 22 2011, Google replaced their logo on their homepage worldwide with a doodle to celebrate Alexander Calder‘s 113th birthday:

Image of Alexander Calder Mobiles Google Doodle

The doodle was a Calder-style mobile that used HTML5 canvas which made it possible for people to interact with it and make it move. It ran a physics simulation on the mobile’s geometry and then did real-time 3D rendering with vector graphics. You can still view the doodle and try it out (and you should, it’s a lot of fun!) via the Google Doodles Archive.

As someone who has written code for 3d animations and scripts for 3d printed mobiles, I have a lot of admiration for the technical end of this doodle. But as a professional mobile maker, it can’t help to notice that apparently there wasn’t enough research done on how the balance structure of a mobile works. The mobile shown in the Google doodle would never work in reality. It has two completely unsupported sections:

Image of Alexander Calder Mobiles Google Doodle

And reconstructing the mobile in my CAD software and calculating the balance points, it turns out that a number of them are incorrect. Here’s where they should be instead:

Image of Alexander Calder Mobiles Google Doodle

If someone were to make this mobile, the lowest four parts of it could be fixed by adjusting the balance points to their correct positions. However, that wouldn’t be enough for everything from there on up. The unsupported arms would need to be redesigned first. So in that way, the above indicated balance point corrections in the upper part of the mobile don’t really mean anything. Structural changes would have to be made first.

– Read of my blog about mobiles

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3D Printed Mobile 1 now available in 9 different colors Thu, 11 Dec 2014 15:48:32 +0000 Our little 3D Printed Mobile 1 is now available in 9 different colors (yellow, green and orange are newly added). Today is the last day to order them if you’d like to receive them by Dec. 24th. $9 to $11 each depending on color:

Image of 3D Printing Art Artist Sculptures

– See our other 3D Printed Mobiles

– Read of my blog about mobiles

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New Article on Houzz: “A Top Mobile Designer Shows How to Create a Calder-Inspired Mobile” Mon, 08 Dec 2014 21:30:04 +0000 I wrote a new article for Houzz: “From the Artist: How to Make a Real Mobile – It’s all in the balancing points: A top mobile designer shows how to create a Calder-inspired installation of your own“. It explains how to make a “real” mobile, meaning one in which the balance of the different parts depend on each other, which results in much more interesting dynamics than if you just tie a number of objects to a coat hanger or a horizontal circle.

None of the how-to articles that I’ve come across explain how the balance structure of a real mobile works in simple terms. This article provides you with a sort of blueprint for mobiles. Once you have that, you can apply it using any materials, whether those are just some random objects you find around your house, objects specific to a season or a holiday, or some mid-century modern shapes.

Read it, experiment and have fun!

Image of Make Calder Artist Inspired Mobiles

More of my blog about mobiles

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Calder at Art Basel Miami Beach – Mobiles Constitute a Trend Fri, 05 Dec 2014 02:13:02 +0000 Today at Art Basel Miami Beach, Leonardo DiCaprio also came to buy. As the dealer David Nahmad stood in front of an Alexander Calder mobile at Helly Nahmad Gallery, the heavily bearded actor approached him and asked, “I need your advice on a Picasso drawing,” and the two walked to a rival’s booth. The Calder mobile they stood in front of, pictured below, is Rouge Triomphant, ca. 1959–63, measuring 110 × 230 × 180 in / 279 x 584 x 457cm (“bigger than a taco truck” according to the Wall Street Journal), which sold for US$9.7m just two years ago at Christie’s and is now priced at US$35m (As of Friday, a collector has reportedly reserved it).

Photo of Large Orginial Calder Mobile for Sale

Article “Upwardly Mobile” in The Art Newspaper: “Mobiles definitely constitute a trend at Art Basel Miami Beach, with organizers seeing an increase in the number of galleries installing hanging works … The number of mobiles is striking.”

Photo of Xin Li with Calder Mobile for sale

Xin Li (see this and this), deputy chairman of Christie’s Asia, with Rouge Triomphant at Art Basel Miami Beach, played a very significant part in selling Calder’s mobile Poisson volant (Flying Fish) (1957) for a record-breaking US$25m in May of this year.

Also at Art Basel Miami Beach:

Photo of Small Orginial Calder Mobile for Sale

Photo of Alexander Calder Mobile for sale at Art Basel Miami Beach

See Calder Foundation President Sandy Rower’s Top 5 Picks at Art Basel Miami Beach 2014

– Read more of my blog about mobiles

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Two Original Calder Mobiles Sold Tonight at Sotheby’s in Paris Thu, 04 Dec 2014 02:04:19 +0000 Two original Alexander Calder mobiles, one hanging and one standing, sold tonight at Sotheby’s Art Contemporain in Paris:

Sans Titre (Untitled Hanging Mobile)
painted metal and wire
ca. 1947
86 x 71 cm / 34 x 28 in
Estimate: 1,000,000 – 1,500,000 USD
Sold for:  2,042,246 USD

Calder probably made this mobile in his Roxbury studio and gave it to a New York pediatrician as a thank you, after a somewhat comical request, to treat his mother in her old age.

Photo of Original Alexander Calder Hanging Mobile for sale

Sans Titre (Untitled Standing Mobile)
sheet metal, brass wire and paint
ca. 1955
13 x 12 x 7.5 cm / 5 1/8 x 4 ¾ x 3 in
Estimate: 127,000 – 190,000 USD
Sold for: 260,753 USD

Photo of Original Alexander Calder Hanging Mobile for sale

– Read more of my blog about mobiles

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Cyber Monday Sale on 3D Printed Mobiles Mon, 01 Dec 2014 15:59:04 +0000 The 3D printing service company Shapeways that we use to make our 3D Printed Mobiles is having a Cyber Monday Sale today: 20% off when you enter promo code “CYBER20″ (expires tonight December 1st 2014 at midnight PST). If you’ve been considering getting any of our 3D Printed Mobiles, now would be a good time: You will also receive them before Christmas.

Photo of 3D Printing Art Sculptures for sale
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Photos of a Large Custom Mobile for a Playroom Wed, 19 Nov 2014 19:44:19 +0000 Photos of a large custom mobile I finished last week for a client’s children’s playroom (via Reddymade Design, NYC). It measures 6 ft / 1.8 m and is made with a hollow aluminum sphere (ball). The design is inspired by Alexander Calder‘s mobiles.

Photo of Large Playroom Mobiles Ceiling Sculpture

Photo of Large Hanging Mobiles for Kids

Photo of Large Calder Mobiles for Childrens Room

– See more of my mobiles

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Photos of Custom Mobile Made with Copper Tue, 11 Nov 2014 19:01:02 +0000 Photos of a custom mobile. I finished last week. It’s based on the design of Mobile 91:

Photo of Large Hanging Mobiles

Here’s the custom design of it that the client requested, made with brushed copper, brushed aluminum and painted aluminum:

Photo of Custom Mobiles made with Copper

Custom designed for a rectangular space, the upper (wider) part of the mobile is held in place by two strings to keep it from rotating full circle while the lower (more narrow) one third of it is made with swivels so the parts can move freely:

Photo of Custom Mobiles Ceiling Sculptures

Photo of Custom Mobiles original

Update: I received a photo from the client of the mobile installed in the alcove with the snow covered scenery of the Vail, Colorado area in the background:

Photo of Custom Hanging Mobiles in Alcove

From the client: “It looks great! The measurements came out right. We’re real happy with it. Thank you!”

– See more my custom mobiles or read more of my blog about mobiles

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Photo of a Hollow Metal Sphere (Aluminum Ball) for a Custom Mobile Thu, 06 Nov 2014 20:21:56 +0000 A photo of 5″ diameter hollow metal sphere (ball) with ground flush weld seam for a custom-made mobile. Made of aluminum, it’s very solid but weighs only 0.85 lbs. It still needs to be finished and painted. The design for this custom mobile contains only one sphere. I think someday I’ll make a mobile with a lot of these.

Photo of Hollow Metal Sphere (Aluminum Ball) for a Custom Mobile

– See my custom-made mobiles or read more of my blog about mobiles

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Mobiles before Calder – Who Invented Mobiles – A History of Mobiles Mon, 03 Nov 2014 18:45:16 +0000 As someone who makes mobiles professionally and has spent quite a lot of time studying mobiles, I get asked once in while, where did mobiles originate from? Who made the first mobile? Or, who invented mobiles? The short answer is that Alexander Calder is the originator of mobiles, which is mostly correct, but Calder wasn’t the first one nor the only one to experiment with the art form. The problem with providing a definite answer to the question of who made the first mobile starts with the definition of what a mobile is and what is simply just a hanging kinetic sculpture. You can read my definition of what a mobile is on my main page, but there isn’t really a set of rules that one can apply to clearly tell one from the other. However, following are the hanging kinetic sculptures that I’m aware of that were made before Calder started to make mobiles. Some of them clearly qualify as mobiles in my opinion, others are up for debate.

In chronological order:

I’ve heard of a Greek architect who built a floating statue in the 2nd century B.C. for the wife of Egyptian King Ptolemy II Philadelphus (B.C.284-246). The suspended sculpture was dependent on the overall setting of magnetic forces on the roof and the walls. I’ve been trying to find out more about this but without success.

Wind chimes have probably been around since prehistoric times. The first evidence of them, found at archeological sites in South East Asia, dates them to about 3000 B.C.. The oldest one I have been able to find an image of is from ancient Rome where people made them out of bronze. They called them Tintinnabulum and hung them outdoors so the wind would make the bells ring. They were also believed to ward off evil spirits.

Japanese glass wind bells known as Fūrin have been produced since the Edo period (1603-1868). And in ancient China, wind chimes were a fundamental part of Feng Shui and were thought to bring good luck. It has been pointed out that Calder saw Chinese wind bells in his youth in San Francisco.

Himmelis are traditional sculptures that originated in Finland, although the root of the name is Germanic. They are a decorative objects, usually made of straw, that hang from the ceiling. A Himmeli (meaning “sky” or “heaven”) is usually symmetrical and pyramid-shaped and rotates slightly with the air flow. Traditionally, they were made in the fall and were placed above the dining table until summer to ensure a good crop for the coming year. I haven’t been able to find out how far back in history the tradition goes, but they have definitely been around long before 1930 when Calder started to make mobiles.

Photo of Himmeli Mobile

If you’d like to make a Himmeli yourself, the Guardian has a How To Make A Himmeli Sculpture.

The Museum Van Het Nederlandse Uurwerk in Zaandam, Netherlands has a mobile dated to 1751 made of four small whale hunter boats circling a whale:

Photo of early Mobile Made In 1751

Calder was also interested in 18th century toys that demonstrate the planetary system.

The Russian artist Aleksandr Rodchenko made one of the first suspended kinetic sculptures in the 20th-century in 1919 (or 1920 depending on source) with his Oval Hanging Construction No.12:

Photo of Aleksandr Rodchenko Oval Hanging Construction Mobiles

Photo of Aleksandr Rodchenko Hanging Construction Mobile
The Russian sculptor Naum Gabo began to experiment with kinetic sculptures in 1917, which makes him a pionner in the art form. He was interested in making sculptures that continually change their appearance, but are constant in what they represent (much like mobiles). The majority of his work was lost or destroyed, but here is a 1918 drawing that he titled Sketch for a Mobile Construction:

Image of Naum Gabo Sketch for a Mobile Construction

I’ve heard of a suspended sculpture by the Russian painter and architect Vladimir Tatlin called Contre-Reliefs Liberes Dans L’espace which he supposedly made in 1915. Constructed of mathematically interlocking planes, it apparently looked very much like a mobile. However, I’ve been unable to find neither an image nor any further information about it. The details surrounding Tatlin’s life and work are relatively obscure to begin with. But here is his Letatlin (1930):

Photo of Vladimir Tatlin Letatlin Mobiles 1930

By the way, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Naum Gabo and Vladimir Tatlin all knew each other and were pioneers of constructivism (in fact, named to describe Rodchenko’s work), which had a great effect on modern art movements of the 20th century, influencing major trends such as the Bauhaus and De Stijl movements.

Now this next one is very important for the history of mobiles. It’s Man Ray‘s Obstruction that he made in 1920. It employs the whippletree mechanism as a balance structure in the same way that Calder started to use it in some of his mobiles a decade later. The whippletree mechanism has been used for centuries or more to distribute force evenly through linkages when horses or mules pull a plow or a wagon:

Image of Whippletree Mechanism Mobile

Man Ray’s Obstruction is the first of this type of hanging kinetic sculpture that I’m aware of that makes use of this mechanism. Even with it’s rudimentary coat hanger design, it can definitely be classified as a mobile:

Photo of Man Ray Obstruction Mobiles

And just because it’s so important to the evolution of mobiles, here’s another photo of it (63 wooden hangers, recreated in 1961):

Photo of Man Ray Obstruction Mobiles

Man Ray’s instructions on how to assemble his mobile:

Image of Man Ray First Mobiles Assembly Instructions

Man Ray also experimented with hanging abstract pieces of sheet metal, here with his Lampshade in 1920:

Photo of Man Ray Shade

Bruno Munari, one of the first kinetic sculptors, started to follow the Futurist movement in 1927. He made what he called “Useless Machines” (macchine inutili) and was interested in creating pieces of art that could interact with their environment (much like mobiles).

Photo of Bruno Munari Useless Machines

Bruno Munari’s Macchina Aer0ea (aerial machine), 1930:

Photo of Bruno Munari Macchina Aerea Mobile 1930

Bruno Munari continued to make very beautiful and original mobiles throughout the 1930s and 1940s (same time as Calder was exploring the art form):

Photos of Bruno Munari Mobiles

Bruno Munari once said (from the book Bruno Munari: Air Made Visible): “What difference was there between my useless machines and Calder’s mobiles? I think I should clear up this matter: apart from the fact that the material construction was different, the means of constructing the objects was also different. The only thing they have in common is that they are suspended objects that move. But there are many suspended objects and there always have been, apart from the fact that even my friend Calder had a precursor in Man Ray, who in 1920 constructed an object on the same principle.”

See more of Bruno Munari’s work if you’re interested, it’s quite amazing.

According to the Museum of Modern Art, one of Alberto Giacometti‘s achievements was to enlarge the mobile concept decisively, so that formal innovation could be reconciled with the Surrealist interest in subconscious associations. Here is his kinetic sculpture, Suspended Ball, 1930:

Photo of Alberto Giacometti Suspended Ball Kinetic Sculpture Mobile

And now here comes Alexander Calder in 1931 experimenting with abstract motorized constructions like Mobile (Motorized Mobile):

Photo of Motorized Mobile by Alexander Calder

Calder visited the painter Piet Mondrian in October 1930 and later said: “When I looked at his paintings, I felt the urge to make living paintings, shapes in motion.” Influenced by the abstract work of Mondrian, Joan Miró and Sophie Taeuber-Arp, he’s approaching the idea of kinetic sculptures like an alchemist with pieces like Object with Red Discs (also known as Calderberry Bush even though Calder claimed he never assigned that title to it), made in 1932 and regarded as his first standing mobile:

Photo of Alexander Calder Object with Red Discs 1931

And in 1933, Cône d’ébène, one of his first suspended (hanging) mobiles:

Photo of Alexander Calder Cône d'ébène Mobile 1933

Calder made a simple yet very important advance in how the balance structure is applied to a hanging kinetic sculpture. He went from the straightforward whippletree structure, like the one in Man Ray’s Obstruction mobile that we looked at above, to this (Alexander Calder, Untitled, 1932):

Photo of Untitled early Mobile by Alexander Calder

Instead of attaching lower elements to both ends of the wires, he replaces one on each arm with an abstract shape. It’s a new way to apply the whippletree structure to a hanging kinetic sculpture, which allowed him to turn the whole idea into a new art form, a complete new magical universe with mobiles like Vertical Foliage (1941):

Photo of Alexander Calder Vertical Foliage mobile

The term “mobile”, a French pun meaning both “mobile” and “motive”, was coined by Marcel Duchamp while visiting Calder’s studio in 1931, although he apparently already used the term in 1913 for his readymade Bicycle Wheel, which some consider to be the first kinetic sculpture.

If you know about any other early mobiles, standing or hanging, or suspended kinetic sculptures that were made before the early 1930s, please let me know, I’d love to hear from you.

See some of my mobiles or read more of my blog about mobiles

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Limited Edition of Plates with six iconic Calder Mobiles Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:39:35 +0000 French porcelain maker Bernardaud, in a collaboration with the Calder Foundation, has just launched a limited edition of 3000 sets of six porcelain dinner plates featuring mobiles by Alexander Calder for $550 per set. The plates feature six iconic mobiles created in the 1940s and 50s, such as 13 Spines, 1940, a noise-producing mobile with a cascade of projecting rods, and Painted Daisy in the Air, 1954, a masterpiece of spatial complexity.

Photo of Calder Mobiles Plates for sale

Photo of Calder Mobiles Plates for sale

Photo of Calder Mobiles Plates for sale

– Read more of my blog about mobiles

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Photos of Large Mobiles – Custom-Made – Installed at Atrium Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:34:27 +0000 Photos of three large mobiles I designed, custom-made and installed last week in the atrium at the Marriott at Fair Oaks, Fairfax, Virginia – via P3 Design Collective and Apple Hospitality REIT. Made of aluminum, each mobile weighs only 15 pounds / 7 kg, and each mobile measures 20 feet / 6 meters in diameter (the largest sheet metal shapes measure 5 feet / 1.5 m in length). Installation of all three mobiles took only 2 1/2 hours, including height adjustments. These are photos I took myself, professional photos should follow within a month or two.

These mobiles won 3rd Prize in the 2015 International Kinetic Art Competition. The hotel is now ranked the #2 Marriott Hotel in North America for “Stylish and up-to-date Design/Decor”.

Kinetic Art Sculptures Mobiles

Photo of Large Custom Mobiles

Photo of Large Fine Art Mobiles

Photo of Large Hanging Mobiles

Photo of Large Artist Mobiles

Photo of Large Custom Art Mobiles

Photo of Large Custom Hanging Mobiles

– See more of my large mobiles or read more of my blog about mobiles

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Busy, Busy, Busy – Large Custom Mobiles, Proposals, Article … Wed, 01 Oct 2014 21:25:55 +0000 Sorry for the lack of blog posts in the last two months, I’ve been too busy. Besides writing an article about mobiles for the interior decorating website Houzz, here are some of the projects that have been keeping me busy:

3 large (16ft/5.3m) custom mobiles for an atrium at a hotel. I will have photos of them once they’re installed on location [Update: photos of the mobiles installed at the atrium]. For now, here are the unpainted aluminum shapes ready to be assembled. The largest ones measure 5 ft / 1.5 m in length:

Photo of Large Hanging Mobiles Shapes made of aluminum

And a render courtesy of Studio 3877 Architecture:

Render of Large Mobiles in Atrium or Lobby

Working on a proposal for a giant mobile (150 ft / 50 m) for an airport for, what could be, the largest mobile in the world. One part of the study:

Design for Large Kinetic Art Installation

Design for Large Hanging Art Installations

Other proposals:

Image of Large Hanging Mobiles Transparent

– The one above I actually made in August –

Design for Large Hanging Mobiles

Image of Large Hanging Mobiles Customized

Image of Custom Hanging Mobiles

Image of Large Hanging Mobiles with Leaves and Branches

– Read more of my blog about mobiles or see more of my mobiles

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Interview about my Mobiles with Italian Art Magazine FAMO Wed, 30 Jul 2014 08:34:58 +0000 Italian art magazine FAMO just published its new summer issue which includes an interview with me about my mobiles. It covers topics such as Alexander Calder‘s influence on my mobiles, how I got started making mobiles, the line between art and design when working with interior designers, and the collection of 3d printed mobiles.

Image of Custom Mobiles Calder Style Interview

Image of Hanging Mobiles Calder Influenced Interview

– See more of my mobiles or read more of my blog about mobiles

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MAKE Article – How to Make a Mobile Based on Calder’s Mobiles Tue, 15 Jul 2014 15:30:34 +0000 I wrote an article for the new issue (Vol 40) of MAKE magazine titled Make a Modern Mobile – Swivels and a weight give flexibility and stability to this contemporary design. It explains how to make Mobile 78, a mobile based on Alexander Calder’s mid-century modern mobiles with a contemporary design element to it. It includes a list of all the tools and materials needed and goes through all the steps to make the parts and assemble them.

Image of How to make a Calder style mobile article

There’s an online version of the article, a PDF version, or subscribe to the magazine (they have lots of other great projects in each issue!).

Image of Magazine Cover with How To Make Mobiles Article

Also, see the page that I made on my website here that explains some of the basics about the balance of a hanging mobile and see my blog post about what wire to use to make a hanging mobile and where to buy it. I also have a blog post with some of the questions that I receive via email regarding how to make mobiles and my answers and see some of my mobiles – handmade mobiles, large custom-made mobiles, 3D printed mobiles and kinetic sculptures – if you’re looking for design ideas. I also have pages with a definition of mobiles and a history of mobiles.

New article I wrote for Houzz: From the Artist: How to Make a Real Mobile – It’s All in the Balancing Points: A Top Mobile Designer Shows How to Create a Calder-Inspired Installation of Your Own:

Image of Make Calder Artist Inspired Mobiles

The Houzz article is now also available in German.

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Photos of a Custom Hanging Mobile made with brass and two attachment points Tue, 08 Jul 2014 18:03:46 +0000 Photos of a custom mobile I finished making for a client (Robert Passal Inc. – Interior & Architectural Design) last week. It’s made with brass and will be installed above a conference table:

Photo of Brass Hanging Mobile with Two Attachment Points

Photo of Brass Hanging Mobile with Two Lines

It has two attachment points on the ceiling (two lines) to keep the wider (upper) part of the mobile parallel to the rectangular conference table.

Photo of Custom Mobiles made with Brass

Photo of Custom Mobiles made with Brass for a Conference Table

The lower (narrower) part of the mobile can rotate full circle.

Photo of Abstract Hanging Art Mobiles for sale

Photo of Custom Hanging Mobiles

See more of my custom mobiles or read more of my blog about mobiles.

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Where I get the materials for large custom mobiles Fri, 27 Jun 2014 16:09:52 +0000 I took a couple of photos with my phone the other day of the place where I pick up materials for the large custom mobiles that I make. I can just stand there and imagine all the giant mobiles that could be made with this stuff:

Photo of Materials for Large Mobiles

Photo of Materials for Large Mobiles

– See my mobiles or read more of my blog about mobiles

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Acclaimed film “Alexander Calder” finally available on DVD Wed, 18 Jun 2014 15:04:52 +0000 Alexander Calder, a film by Roger Sherman, that aired originally as part of  the “American Masters” series on PBS in 1998 is finally available on DVD. The acclaimed film shows Calder at work in his studio and never-before-seen archival films and photographs. It features interviews with Arthur Miller, Ellsworth Kelly, I.M. Pei, Brendan Gill, Marla Prather, David Ross, Calder’s daughters and grandson, Sandy Rower, and others.

Image of Alexander Calder Biography Film Documentary DVD

Here’s a preview:

– Read the Utne Reader’s review

– Available through First Run Features

– Also available on

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Two new designs for custom hanging mobiles Wed, 11 Jun 2014 15:46:02 +0000 Two new designs for custom hanging mobiles:

Image of Hanging Mobile

The above mobile would be attached to the ceiling at two points to keep the wider upper half of the mobile from rotating full circle. [Update: see photos of the finished mobile]

Image of Hanging Mobile

– See more of my designs for custom hanging mobiles

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Large Custom Calder-Style Mobile Installation in Buenos Aires Wed, 04 Jun 2014 15:26:35 +0000 These are photos I recently received from a client. I made a 12 feet (3.5 meter) tall Calderesque mobile for his two story atrium. I previously posted photos of this mobile at a local park a day after it snowed. After taking those pictures, I disassembled the mobile and pack it small enough so that it could be taken onto an airplane. Then the mobile was reassembled on location in Buenos Aires by the client’s assistant, Jorge:

Photo of Large Hanging Mobiles Painting

The shapes (paddles) had to be reattached and the new rivets needed to be painted.

Photo of Large Hanging Mobiles Preparation

Mini-pulley system for the roof designed by Jorge to raise the mobile:

Photo of Calder Mobile Reproduction Mechanism

The design of the mobile:

Photo of Mobile Calder Acheter

Measurements of the atrium:

Photo of Large Calder Mobile

The design of the mobile photoshopped into pictures of the space (the colors for the mobile had yet to be decided at this point):

Photo of Calder Mobile Replica Proposal

Photo of Calder Mobile Reproduction

Photos of the installed mobile:

Photo of Large Calder Mobiles Reproduction

Photo of Large Calder Mobile Reproduction

From the client: “The mobile is truly beautiful! [It] lives up to our expectations – which were inordinately high! The wonderful thing we discovered is the full meaning of the word ‘mobile’. With the advent of winter, we have turned on the heat on occasion. What that causes is real movement — almost a revolution per minute as the warm air floats upward. At night, with the lights on, the shadows play across the wall as well. Beautiful!”

Photo of Large Hanging Mobiles Calder

Photo of Calder Mobile

And for kicks, a local cafe in Buenos Aires around the corner from the residence where the mobile now is:

Photo of Local Cafe Buenos Aires

Read more of my blog about mobiles or see more of my large custom mobiles.

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Photos of a large custom mobile I installed in Texas last week Tue, 27 May 2014 17:32:09 +0000 Photos of a large custom mobile I installed in a lobby at a commercial real estate company in Houston, Texas last week:

Photo of Large Mobiles Ceiling

The shapes of the “paddles” are inspired by Alexander Calder‘s mobiles.

Photo of Calder Inspired Mobile

The custom design is based on proposals I previously posted on my blog here. The custom colors for the mobile are based on the circular rug in the lobby.

Photo of Artist Mobiles VerticalPhoto: Marilyn Franklin

– On-site installation took less than an hour –

Photo of Custom Artist Mobiles InstallationPhoto: Marilyn Franklin

Measuring 12 feet (3 1/2 meters) in height and 10 feet (3 meters) in diameter, made of steel, rivets, primer and paint. The mobile weighs about 15 pounds (7 kilograms).

Photo of Calder Mobiles Reproductions For Sale

Email from the project manager/designer: “Thanks again for all the care and time you took creating the beautiful mobile. I got a text from the client today that it “looks fantastic!” – he is very pleased.”

Read more of my blog about mobiles or see more of my large custom mobiles.

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4 of my mobiles now available at Carol Kucera Gallery in Santa Fe, NM Wed, 07 May 2014 15:58:49 +0000 4 of my mobiles are now available at Carol Kucera Gallery in Santa Fe, NM:

Hanging Mobiles For Sale in Santa Fe New Mexico

– See more of my hanging mobiles or read more of my blog about mobiles

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Drawing of a custom Calder-like mobile above a conference table Mon, 05 May 2014 22:03:18 +0000 Just a drawing I just made for a custom Calder-like mobile above a conference table:

Calder Mobiles Reproduction

– See more of my custom mobiles or read more of my blog about mobiles

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3D Printed Mobiles in new book “Printing Things – Visions and Essentials for 3D Printing” Tue, 29 Apr 2014 14:54:11 +0000 Our 3d printed mobiles are in a new book by publisher and creative agency Gestalten titled Printing Things – Visions and Essentials for 3D Printing. It’s an inspirational and understandable exploration of the creative potential of 3D printing that introduces outstanding projects, key experts, and the newest technologies.

Photo of 3D Printing Art Mobiles

From the Book:

Kinetic Structures, Virtually Balanced: The term “mobile” was first used in 1931 by Marcel Duchamp to describe the kinetic wire-frames made by Alexander Calder, whose iconic works later sparked an entire genre of sculpture. These works were created in situ, taking advantage of ambient air currents and finely calibrated equilibriums to generate large constructions, both dynamic and serene in their movements. In the years that followed, the art form became archetypal, but the advent of sophisticated design and engineering software has allowed for unprecedented methods of working in the medium. A collaboration arose between kinetic sculptor Marco Mahler and Henry Segerman, an assistant professor of mathematics, on the question of advanced modeling for the creation of rapid prototyped mobiles. Communicating exclusively via email, Skype and Twitter, the two were united by the shared interest in a mobile emerging fully assembled from a single print, the separate parts already interconnected. The precision of the printing technology allowed them to calibrate the balance to the micron (one one-thousandth of a millimeter), slightly modifying the thickness of certain elements to generate different bearing. They also experimented with scripted modeling in the Python programming language to increase the limits of intricacy, for instance with the 1365 pieces that make up the Quaternary Tree Mobile Level 6. Finally they uploaded their designs to Shapeways, transforming the mobile from a delicate one-off to a geometric code available for materialization on demand.

About the Book:

3D printers will soon be found in more and more workshops, offices, and homes. With them, we will be able to print out small pieces of furniture, prototypes, replacement parts, and even a new toothbrush on-site at any time. Consequently, new production methods and business models are developing—along with a new visual language of multidimensional formal explorations. Today, 3D objects and complex forms can already be printed out that were previously impossible to achieve with traditional methods.

Printing Things is an inspirational and understandable exploration of the creative potential of 3D printing. The book not only introduces outstanding projects, key experts, and the newest technologies, but it also delves into the complex topics that these paradigm-shifting technologies bring up, such as how to handle copyrights and seamless manufacturing.

– Read the review on designboom

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