Art History for Kids: Calder Fish

Summer is on it's way! Many people will be heading to the lake to catch a fish or two. If your pole lines are tangled or there are no worms to be found just make a fish of your own. No need to worry about catch and release with these modern fishes inspired by Alexander Calder. 

This fish has eyelashes!

This fish has eyelashes!

We looked at a Calder fish mobile. We noticed all of the small wires connecting and colors weaved inside. At first we thought they were colored jewels but upon closer inspection found that they were small pieces of glass, probably washed up on a beach. I offered translucent beads, pipe cleaners, thin colored wire and 12 gauge armature wire (pretty easy to bend). Sculpting with wire is a great spacial activity and offers another way to reinforce the concept of line. We experimented with pipe cleaners to see what a straight line could do, our favorite was the spiral.

Step one: make a fish shape

Step one: make a fish shape

Step two: choose the inside wire and start adding beads.

Step two: choose the inside wire and start adding beads.

So, all the fish ended up with eyelashes! I tied some actual fishing line to the top and we watched the shadows of the fish mobiles as they "swam" in the breeze. Investigate more Calder works of art at Calder.org or read Sandy's Circus