Anitra Redlefsen
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intro >> teaching & workshops > sample lesson

Rock and Wire Mobile

A Project in Problem Solving, Balance and Creativity by Anitra Redlefsen - Artist, art consultant & educator

These instructions are just guidelines, as the whole intent of this project is to solve the problem. "How do I get this thing to stand and be balanced, not fall over, and look well designed -- variety and unity -- of line, direction, size, shape, texture etc.?" A mobile is something that has a life of its own, so its ok to have it be responsive to its environment. (ie, when you move it falls over!) Not to worry! Balance it again. Rearrange the parts until you once again have a balanced and good design. A mobile is flexible, unpredictable, organic, responsive, whimsical, fun and delightful!

[Mobile artist: Tyler, age 10]


  • a nice rock of your choice
  • 18 gauge wire (heavier)
  • 24 gauge wire (thinner)
  • scissors
  • 4 1/2" straight nose pliers (a jewelry and hobby tool)
  • wire cutters
  • double sided tape
Note: Wire comes in different colors and gauges; just make sure you have some heavier wire (the 18 gauge, this is the "stable part of your mobile) and other wire that is flexible and shapeable; wire that comes in coiled rolls is perfect because the coiling lends itself to making interesting and pleasant shapes.


  1. Select your rock; you might want to go on a rock hunting walk in your local park or in your neighborhood; look for something that appeals to you in shape, size, color etc. It is amazing that certain shapes occur naturally in nature (ie a heart shape) and this shape can be a source of inspiration for your mobile.
  2. Take a piece of heavier gauge wire and bend it around your rock, securing it and leaving a piece as high as you desire to stand upright (but not necessarily straight) as the main mobile stem, or the stable part of your mobile. I know this sounds kind of vague, but this is all part of the problem solving process.
  3. Begin adding on to your mobile by twisting wire shape appendages from which other wire forms can dangle. Imagine that your mobile is like a tree, with branches from which leaves will dangle and move with air currents. As you add new items, pay attention to how the weight of the item changes the balance of the mobile.
  4. When you have achieved balance and interest, your are finished! Trust Me!
  5. Have Fun With This!
  6. You can use your sculpture as a subject for a drawing. Notice the interesting positive and negative spaces. Use different values or colors to paint an interesting design and composition.
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