Tag Archives: Alexander Calder

3-D Paper Sculptures

21 Jun

We looked at two photos of sculptures. The first is a clay sculpture by a French artist named Fernand Leger (Fernan Layzhay). Our second sculpture is from an American artist named Alexander Calder.

I asked the students to raise their hands and explain what they are observing about the two sculptures. What shapes do they see? How are the sculptures alike and different?

Sculpture facts: The Walking Flower (1951) is a clay sculpture, 261/2” x 201/2”x15”, his sculpture is symbolic, what is it a symbol of? Calder’s sculpture, The Spinner (1966), is made of aluminum, steel and oil paint and it is very big in comparison to the Walking Flower, 19.5’ x 29.25’ Calder’s subject is a nonobjective (or abstract) sculpture. It is form but doesn’t represent a recognizable object. He created his form from what shapes?

Explain the difference between 2D versus 3D or ask first to see if they already know. (show a ball versus circle and cone versus triangle) Today we will create a 3 dimensional sculpture from a 2 dimensional piece of paper. Shapes and Forms are similar in that they can be geometric or free form. However, they are different in that shapes are flat and two-dimensional (2-D). Shapes are measured by height and width. Draw a circle and a triangle on your newsprint. Forms are not flat. They are three-dimensional (3-D) and can be measured in three ways: height, width, and depth. Now see look at a cone and a ball and see how they are three-Dimensional. Sculpture is art that is three-dimensional.

This lesson is from the Level 3 Art Connections book (pg. 88).

Art Activity:

Practice our own 3D form project first on 12 X 18 Newsprint. Tell them about the cuts they have to make to form “legs” and have them practice this type of cutting. As they practice the cutting the docent reads the steps for their final piece to them. Have them use the newsprint to protect the desks from the oil pastels.
Now we will make the 3-D paper sculpture

1. Cut out a large free-form shape (just cutting around the outside edges) from a piece of black construction paper. Decorate both sides using oil pastels. Decorate with filled in shapes, stripes, curly cues or random blocks of color. Use colors that appeal to you and press firmly to create intense color.

2. Next we cut the “legs”. Do this part slowly and carefully!! Make 8-12 cuts in the paper that go from the outside towards the center. Not ALL THE WAY THROUGH, KEEP THE Paper WHOLE! Demonstrate for them.

3. Make tabs on the “legs” of the sculpture by folding the paper a little bit to provide a surface for gluing. Again, demonstrate for them.

3. Next use your chipboard (8.5 x 11) as a base and start to glue the “legs” of the paper down in different places. Glue at least four legs down and some may stay up in the air. Use a generous amount of glue stick and hold for 15 seconds. It’s tricky when you are stretching and move the paper so be patient! If a piece is not holding raise your hand and one of the adults will use a spot of liquid white glue. (our kids didn’t need this, just an occasional adult hand to hold a leg or two down while drying).

4. As you are gluing make your own creative choices as an artist. How many legs/forms will you glue down? You can bend and fold and twist the paper to make some “legs” stand in the air. Do you want lots of space in the middle of your sculpture or lots of paper? Go slowly and try just placing a form/leg down before gluing and if you don’t like it take another and try it. Play with the form!
(If there is time the student can make another 3D sculpture without a base, gluing the legs to each other).

Summary: Room 13 artists created 3 dimensional sculptures by cutting and bending 2 dimensional paper. Shapes and Forms are similar in that they can be geometric or free form. However, they are different in that shapes are flat and two-dimensional (2-D). Shapes are measured by height and width. Forms are not flat. They are three-dimensional (3-D) and can be measured in three ways: height, width, and depth. Shape and form are two of the elements (the language) of art. The other elements are line, color, texture, value and space.
Lesson Title: Form lesson – 3 D Paper sculpture
Room#, Grade, Teacher: room 13, 3rd, Vontver
Docent/s: Jill Mount

Email: ejmount@comcast.net
Comment: Form is an element of Art and can be expressed through three-dimensional sculptures.
Art Elements/Principles/Artists Reviewed: form, Fernand Leger & Alexander Calder
Closing Comments:


Alexander Calder’s Mobiles

6 Jan

Mobile – a sculpture frequently of wire and sheet metal shapes with parts that can be set in motion by air currents

In our case, we will be making mobiles that will hang and use balance.

Stabile – an abstract sculpture or construction similar in appearance to a mobile but made to be stationary

• Calder invented a new type of sculpture. His new works were called mobiles because they move.
• Instead of anchoring these three-dimensional works to the ground, Calder usually suspended them from the ceiling to allow them to float freely in space.
• To make a mobile, he attached brightly painted metal shapes to wire, using trial and error to balance each one.
• He usually cut natural forms that looked like leaves and petals rather than hard-edge geometric shapes.
• His use of industrial materials—steel, aluminum, and wire—was new. When Calder’s mobiles move with the breeze, they change shape and cast interesting shadows.
• Some even “sing” as their movable parts rub against each other.

Calder still made regular sculpture, or “stabiles”, that sits firmly on the ground. Calder’s stabiles are huge, bright, sheet-metal sculptures that are designed to fill city plazas, parks, and sculpture gardens.


Gather some materials

Map out your idea first on your desk

Simplify your idea… focus on balance… with eye catching – free from – shapes

Start building

Be flexible with your design as you WILL need to tweak it to get it to balance properly

Start over if you need to

Know when to STOP and be done with your design
Wire Hangers
Wire (telephone wire, jewwlry wire, copper wire)
Colored wooden beads, metallic origami paper, cellophane, buttons, yarn, etc.
Wire cutters
**Cut paper for writing name to hang from hanger

Website: http://calder.org/home.html

Closing Comments: Once the kids figured out that they could bend and warp the wire hangers to make their mobiles “do” certain things for them, their creative juices really flowed at that point. SOme unraveled the hanger to create a completely unique design. Some children really built upon their designs to create the classic Calder cascading look of pieces flowing from one to the other.

Hang your name tag on the hanger when finished
Lesson Title: Alexander Calder’s Mobiles
Room#, Grade, Teacher: Rm. 7, 3rd, Saltsman
Docent/s: Marcie Guthrie, Jim Bargfrede

Name: Marcie Guthrie
Email: mar_seegu@comcast.net
Art Elements/Principles/Artists Reviewed: Form, Alexander Calder