December 15, 2008

Mobile Metalworks

Who knew the inventor of the mobile was so much more than an acclaimed artist! I recently discovered the innovative work of American sculptor Alexander Calder (1898-1976) at an amazing exhibit of his creations at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. What made this collection so important and personally gratifying to me wasn't the abstract metal monuments he created such as the one for the Olympic Games in Mexico City or the sculpture he created for the New York Port Authority. It was his little-known jewelry designs, mostly created as gifts to family and friends.

Calder's rarely soldered earrings, necklaces and bracelets show his incredible ability to bend and mold wire to his liking. I appreciated the visible plier marks in some of the pieces as I reflected my own adventures in wire wrapping. His creative mixes of metal and wood are breathtaking. Calder's designs were rough, unsophisticated. The bold brashness of certain necklaces brought to mind a time when women were not fearful of the eclectic and thought the "trend" was a dreadful bore. This was the jewelry that stopped conversations and illicited shocked stares of awe - cliche but true works of wearable art.

You can view Calder's Jewelry at The Met through March 1, 2009. The Whitney Museum hosts sculptures from his Paris years now through February 15, 2009. Learn more about the artist at

Images Courtesy of

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