|Wire Elephant, 1928|
Alexander Calder drew with wire.
Calder (1898-1976) was an American artist most well-known for his kenetic mobiles and wire sculptures. He also painted, was a set designer, and he created massive public sculpture installations. He began his career as a mechanical engineer.
Our campers focused on his animal wire sculptures. We looked at several examples and noticed that they appear to be 3-dimensional drawings made in space from wire.
To create our own, we drew several sketches of animals using just one long line from the beginning and back to the beginning again. We selected our favorite and used very thin wire to quickly trace our drawing with. This would give us a rough idea as to how much craft wire we would need for our sculpture.
We then cut that amount of 18-gauge wire and bent it using a pair of needle nose pliers for sharp turns, twists, and tiny shapes. We made every attempt to turn a flat drawing into a 3-D shape. We also left a bit of wire poking down from the bottom of the sculpture for the base.
Then we selected a piece of wood and glued it to a flat plank for a base. We painted it, drilled a hole, and inserted the tip of the wire at the bottom of the sculpture. Then we added glue and we bent and adjusted the sculpture to fit down onto the base.
To an engineer, good enough is perfect. With an artist, there's no such thing as perfect.
~ Alexander Calder