Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How to make a Kinetic Mobile Sculpture by Carolyn Weir of Skysetter Designs - Part 1

Ok, call me crazy!  But you asked for it and here it is.  This is a very rough draft of a Beginning Kinetic Mobile Sculpture Workshop. (come back often as I will update/improve this instruction soon) Enjoy!

Skysetter Designs Kinetic Mobile Sculpture Workshop Part 1 – A little different from the Master
Introduction to the world of Kinetic Mobiles – The adult mobile

Tools I use to create miniature mobiles (completed 36” tall/wide or smaller)


Aluminum Flashing (standard rolls at the hardware store - ask the cashier where aluminum flashing is kept) - or thin plastic plates make great mobiles also.  I would advise against using paper to make your mobiles.  Too light and doesn't hold up to humidity changes.
Jump Rings (you can make your own - instructions coming soon)

There are some styles of Skysetter Design mobiles that utilize the same length of wire throughout (fountain style) and others with varied lengths.  When beginning your journey of mobile making, it is advised to begin with the same length of wire for each component focusing more of your attention to balancing your components.  When you have achieved some experience balancing / creating mobiles, you are free to vary the wire lengths of your mobiles to accommodate the weight and design of your sculpture. 

Cut 14 pieces of wire at 7” each for your first project.

Put 7 pieces of wire aside that you will use for your finished mobile.  The other 7 pieces of wire will be used to practice some loops.

The Basic Loop – You will need to learn make loops on the ends of the wire.

For this beginning lesson, we will make loops on both ends of each practice wire.

1.Take care to place the end of the wire in your round nose pliers where the wire does not go past the round nose pliers.  Click on the first picture in the series below to see correct placement in a larger picture.  Don't forget to press your "back" button in your web browser to return to this page.


2.  Now, practice creating a loop in the middle of each practice wire.  Start with your loops pointing down. Place your pliers in the center of the wire (mid point between the two loops.  Grab one wire half way between the pliers and loop and pull the wire so it meets the loop on the other side (make it do a u-turn)

Don’t worry if your practice wires don’t look exactly like the pictures above (lol, the pictures above aren't the best examples either).  It takes practice to create perfect loops in stiff wire like stainless steel.  Keep practicing and you will do great!

Lets look at how to open and close the loops on the end of the wires. 
You will grasp the loop in your chain nose pliers and push the loop away from you.

Balancing Act

Now to begin your 1st balancing act.  Kinetic Mobiles are created from the bottom to the top.  You will find a balance point on the bottom piece of your mobile and then add more pieces from there.

When I began making mobiles, I would use the following technique:

  1. Make Loops on the ends of 1 wire
  2. Prepare aluminum pieces by cutting 7 abstract shapes.  The shapes shouldn't be more than 3" x 3".  You can leave these aluminum pieces flat or give them some personality by giving them some nice curves or some edgy bends.
  3. Cut 1 hole in each aluminum shape close to any edge.  
  4. Attach 1 jump ring to each aluminum shape.
  5. Attach a few components to the loops by opening the loops, threading the jump ring on the rectangle and closing the loop.  In the following pictures, I used peace signs instead of rectangles.
  6. Find the balance point of your component group and place your round nose pliers at the center of that balance point.

(yes, it is quite apparent that photography is not my best quality L)

  1. Pull one side of your component group to the opposite side so they meet. 

6.  Then take the side you have not moved and pull it in the opposite direction

7.  When you have completed moving the wires into position, turn your component over and check its balance.

A balance is not necessarily parallel.  For more interest, a balance can easily have one side higher than the other.

It has been far too long but here it is.  I have completed the workshop.  Follow me to my website to view a new and completed workshop on How to Create Your First Kinetic Mobile Sculpture  http://skysetter.com/how-to-make-a-mobile

Monday, March 28, 2011

Table Mountain National Park - Cape Town, South Africa - Virtual Paint-out Challenge - March 2011

Here is my attempt at a landscape.  Bill Guffey's Virtual Paint-Out location this month, March 2011, Cape Town, South Africa.

This is in the Table Mountain National Park area, close to 3 Beach Road, Cape Town, South Africa.
Near Table Mountain National Park, Cape Town, South Africa by Carolyn Weir

Want to see what other artists did on this virtual paint-out?  Visit the Virtual Paint-Out blog at http://virtualpaintout.blogspot.com/2011/03/cape-town-march-2011.html

Thanks again to Google, as they have given their permission for artists to use Street View as a reference for paintings that can then be sold without fear of copyright infringement.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Don't get Cocky!

I knew the moment that I started saying, "I don't get sick", I would get sick, instantly!  It is just a matter of fact that karma will rear its beneficial head and put you right back in your place.  Even though I haven't run a fever in a couple of days, I'm still not quite myself.

I'm picking up the paint brush again and the wire snips and working on a few new mobile ideas.  The progress is slow but I feel new directions in both watercolor and kinetic mobile sculpture coming soon.  I have almost completed a piece I plan on exhibiting at the New Orleans Automata exhibit in April 2011.

In the mean time, I decided to post all of my available paintings at my Fine Art America website.  It might be beneficial to send my potential customers to that website to choose the artwork that will go on their kinetic mobile sculpture.


Monday, March 7, 2011

The Virus - EWE

So, my wonderful husband began feeling badly Thursday 03/03/11 and has proceed to have chest gunk, sneezes, sniffles but worse, an active fever that hovers around 100.5.  He has been incredibly grumpy, which I'm sure was an attempt to keep my away from him.  It is now Monday evening 03/07/11 and I have a sore throat.  I DON'T GET SICK!!  Last time sick.... May 2005.  I just hope I have a milder case than Bill has.  Wish me luck!  I'M GOING IN!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Keeping Up

This is a really busy time for Natchez MS.  Here in Natchez we have an event called Spring Pilgrimage where a good amount of the community, in one way or another, prepares for our busiest tourist season.  We also have a shorter event only lasting two weeks called Fall Pilgrimage.  Because Natchez is home to many of the important historical homes of the south, we host a 6 week period where those homes are showcased.  Many of our citizens spend these six weeks dressing up in period costume preparing for the groups that come to Natchez to tour the homes.  Of course, allot of our tax dollars and economy rely on this hospitality event and we feel ourselves lucky to have this really neat community resource.

This also means that all area business' are preparing for the extra sales that this spring event brings.  The Natchez Little Theater has requested local artists submit artwork for auction and sale during Pilgrimage and I spent part of my Dallas Vacation creating a painting for this auction.

The other thing that I have been working on is my display for my local gallery exhibit, Arts Natchez.  For the first time I will have an exhibit in our local art gallery.  I'm excited about the opportunity to display my Kinetic Mobile Sculptures at Arts Natchez.  The display will be just like a painting display on the wall where the mobiles will hang flat on the wall.  I will also have an interactive feature that gives viewers the opportunity to remove my mobiles from the wall, hang them on hooks to view the movement of the mobiles.  There will also be one or two mobiles hanging in the middle of the gallery.  This gallery is run by the artists strictly.  Each artist who displays in the gallery is required to run the gallery 1 day per month.  My first gallery day is Sunday March 6th.  I look forward to working on mobiles or painting the day away when I don't have customers.  Downtown Natchez Mississippi doesn't have many business' open on Sundays so the gallery is one of the few things to do on Sundays.