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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Mobiles: Alexander Calder, Leah Pellegrini and DIY

Alexander Calder (1898-1976), whose illustrious career spanned much of the twentieth century, is the most acclaimed and influential sculptor of our time. Born into a family of classically trained artists, Calder utilized his innovative genius to change the course of modern art. He began by developing a new method of sculpting: by bending and twisting wire, he essentially "drew" three-dimensional figures in space. He is renowned for the invention of the mobile, whose suspended abstract elements move and balance in changing harmony. Because of Calder's designs, the mobile became a common element in mid-century decorating.

I recently discovered a glass artist named Leah Pellegrini on who does Calder-like mobiles in several sizes. She offers a mini-size for $25, a large size for $610 and several sizes in between, making her work affordable for everyone. I bought one of her small mobiles, which just arrived yesterday. It is a beautiful piece, and now I want one of her larger ones.

Several months ago I bought a book on entitled Make It! Mid-Century Modern. It contains twelve DIY projects, including one called the Calderiffic Mobile. I have all the materials, but I haven't made the mobile yet. However, Leah's work has inspired me to get started. The materials required for the project cost practically nothing, and the instructions are very clear, so anyone who really wants a beautiful Calderesque mobile can have one.

Calder mobile

Calder mobile

Mobile at National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Pellegrini mobile, large

Pellegrini mobile, mini

Do-it-yourself book


  1. they are pretty
    my husband makes some also ,I love them

    1. Have you ever posted about his mobiles? I'd love to see them.