Friday, May 18, 2018

We're All Ears :: May Inspiration :: Movement + Momentum

Ocean Photo by Alex Stuart on Unsplash
Photo by Alex Stuart on Unsplash
May's We're All Ears Challenge inspiration is the mobiles of Alexander Calder. We are to pick our favorite Calder mobile and make some earrings inspired by it! Since earrings are the perfect embodiment of kinetic sculptures this makes sense. In designing earrings with Calder's mobiles in mind, creating the ability for the earrings to have some momentum seems to be a necessity. When we look around us, we see momentum created by Mother Nature in the oceans, sky, and earth.

Calder room at National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Calder room at National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Alexander Calder (1846-1923) was born to a family of sculptors. He is best known for his colorful, whimsical abstract public sculptures and his innovative mobiles, kinetic sculptures powered by motors or air currents. I found it interesting that Calder studied to be an engineer at the Stevens Institute of Technology before attending the Art Students League in New York. It was the French artist Marcel Duchamp who christened Calder's hanging sculptures "mobiles." To create these mobiles, Calder cut sheet metal into various shapes and assembled these elements in a chain-linked system so that the flat metal pieces move in response to currents of air. Many of his mobiles use bold, primary colors. Others like the one below are black.

Mobile by Alexander Calder
Mobile by Alexander Calder

I found a number of online articles that describe how to create a "Calder mobile.  Some of the articles are geared toward adults, but there are directions available for activities with students in upper elementary through high school.  

Casual Beige Earrings by BayMoonDesign

Since momentum is the force that allows something to continue or to grow stronger or faster as time passes, I had to find a way to make that happen in my earrings. Just as Calder used chain to create motion in his mobiles, my earring design made use of black and brown chain. Both of those colors are in the ceramics I selected by Marsha Neal Studio. The beige ceramics have a gray that shows through in the handmade ceramics. Some brass beads and tiny seed beads dangle from chain and create momentum. These earrings are available for purchase in my online store.

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash
Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash
I am anxious to see what other jewelry designers create. Personally, I found this a difficult challenge. It did result in my thinking about my earring design.  It also made me aware of all of the examples of momentum that surround us in nature.  I spent a lot of time figuring out how to construct the earrings. I ended up with a pair of earrings that are very different than anything else that I have made. That is a great benefit to participating in these challenges. A special thanks to  Erin Prais-Hintz the creator of this challenge.


  1. What great earrings! I really love the colors in the beads and how you brought them into the metals. I was stumped by this theme, or rather, I was too lazy to look hard enough for inspiration. You put some thought into your design and got wonderful results.

    1. Thanks Tammy! I really struggled to come up with something for this challenge.

  2. It is interesting to see how you interpreted momentum. The charms on chains do make a lovely pendulum swing

  3. I think that earrings by their very nature are little mobile sculptures. I like movement in my earrings, that keep the wearer feeling them and draw the eye of those around them. I like the colors and textures you used here. Thanks so much for playing along with me in the We're All Ears challenge! Enjoy the day! Erin

  4. I, too, watched some videos because I was curious to find out how balance was achieved :) Dangles are all about movement and I consider the stacked findings on your earrings as construction elements of a mobile / kinetic piece of jewelry. Love the color balance, too!