"It whirls, it whirls!"
April 3, 2012 1:32 PM   Subscribe

Do you know about building mobiles? Looking for book recommendations, your favorite mobile makers (or mobiles) and any tips and tricks for finding balance with mobiles.

I have a small obsession with mobiles and I'd like to start making a few on my own. One the one hand, they seem so simple. But, on the other hand, could be so complex! I love kinetic sculpture, though I'm no movement scientist so I should probably start small. But, if you have a resource for kinetics in general, I'm all ears!

And send me your favorite mobile sellers because I probably need more mobiles!
posted by amanda to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
My favorite mobiles creator is Salty & Sweet. I can confirm that she's a very nice person and I would wager good money that she'd be willing to talk shop.
posted by komara at 2:08 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Oh my! Komara, I love those! Thanks.
posted by amanda at 2:13 PM on April 3, 2012

Of course, you must start with a study of Alexander Calder, the inventor of the mobile. Seeing that you are in Portland, hopefully you were able to see the exhibition of his work up in Seattle in 2010 (it was excellent).
posted by JJtheJetPlane at 2:16 PM on April 3, 2012

Try starting with light sticks (bamboo skewers, dried grass stalks, etc.) and light string or thread. You can hang virtually any light objects--they don't have to be the same size or shape or weight. First hang two objects on either end of a short stick, then find the balance point and attach another short thread there. Tie that thread onto one end of a slightly longer stick, and tie another object on the other end of that stick with enough room to clear both of your first objects. Find the balance point of the second stick, and tie on another short thread. Work from the bottom up like that. You'll get the picture pretty quickly, and start improvising.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:54 PM on April 3, 2012 [4 favorites]

Maybe too basic, but there's a neat trick for finding the balance point of a stick:

Point straight forward with both hands, as if you're about to do a very robotic clap, and place the stick on top of your fingers. Slowly move your hands together to complete the clap, and the stick should slide and adjust itself until it ends up with the centre point exactly over where your hands meet.
posted by lucidium at 12:42 PM on April 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

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