are dangling sculptures that hang as decoration, art, or an educational
tool. Most people are familiar with those that hang above cribs, play
music, rotate, and give an infant something to focus on. These
sculptures can also be projects for school-aged children that allows
them to represent a family outing, favorite book, or science concept.
Alexander Calder elevated the mobile form to high art with his oversized
sculptures designed for outside spaces or solariums.
general, mobiles are groups of suspended, three-dimensional items that
have several smaller objects, such as seashells or stuffed animals,
hanging from crossbars. A prototypical one would have a main string to
which several horizontal supports are tied. Then a series of objects are
tied to these braces, usually at different heights. Beyond that simple
definition, the decoration may be tiny, heavy, delicate, playful,
translucent, musical, or informative.
most common kind are introduced in the home during a baby shower. This
device is designed to hang over a baby's crib, bassinet, rocker, or even
car seat. With batteries, these plastic devices rotate and play
lullabies or nursery rhymes. They are meant to soothe fussy babies and
entertain their developing brain as they begin to be able to visually
focus, understand color, and hear melodies. As a baby falls asleep, he
or she is quieted by the music, but if the infant wakes up unexpectedly,
he or she will have something interesting to stare at, such as blocks,
animals, or simple shapes in primary colors.
may design other mobiles as part of a challenging, artistic project. A
child who has been studying ancient Egypt could create one that
incorporates a mummy, pyramid, scarab beetle, and a scroll of papyrus.
If he needed to illustrate the various stages of metamorphosis for a
butterfly, he could cut out drawings of a larvae, caterpillar,
chrysalis, and butterfly. Thematically, people typically assume the
different objects included in the sculpture have something in common as
they turn and flutter in the breeze.
Calder is well known for his abstract, graceful, swinging mobiles. Most
of his are large enough to take up a room or an entire museum's lobby.
Their sweeping arcs connect organic, amoeba-like shapes, usually in
bright or simple colors like red, white, blue, yellow, and black. They
tend to slowly rotate or counter-balance themselves so they're in
constant motion, even away from wind. Calder was inspired by kinetic
sculptures with expert mechanics and engineering. Some people describe
them as planets in orbit, autumn leaves about to fall off a tree, or
electrons spinning around a nucleus.