Article Type Making Art Together Making Art Together Categories Sculpture

Sky Mobiles

Sara Ottomano

Inspired by the flurry of snow that touched down recently in New England, we want to share with you one of our recent Every Day Art Projects entitled Sky Mobiles. The project itself was inspired by the exhibition in the Central Gallery at The Carle, A Friend Among Us: The Art of Brinton Turkle.

In one of Brinton Turkle’s books, Sky Dog, a boy wishes for a cloud to become a dog and finds that his wish comes true. In the Art Studio, we wanted to focus on the idea of objects that move in space, whether that be clouds, snow, spaceships, or anything our guests could imagine, and experiment with white and clear recycled materials to create hanging mobiles.

On the tables, baskets filled with materials and an assortment of inspiring books specifically selected for the project were placed for guests to explore. Guests were invited to experiment with recycled paper and plastic objects, yarns and ribbons, and cutting tools to create their own hanging artwork. We chose specifically to focus on white and clear found materials so that guests could experiment with the subtle differences in the plastics and papers. Attached to the baskets, we also re-used the laminated card from the Materials in Motion EAP that might help guests think about the different ways that a mobile could move in space.

Some guests made abstract mobiles, choosing to experiment with each material and balance them.

Others made representational mobiles, focusing on construction of rocket ships, birds’ nests, and even firetrucks.

Some guests delighted in using the masking tape, taking large strips to connect their works.

Other guests chose to use smaller pieces, carefully connecting the parts of the mobiles together.

Still others enjoyed the sensory exploration of touching the materials, as seen by this young guest who was gently touching the bubble wrap, exploring the pockets of air encased in plastic.

After creating their mobile, guests could take their work home or contribute to two displays in The Art Studio. One display involved hanging their artwork in the sky, and the other involved hanging on a watercolored wall.

To hang the artwork in the sky, we put tension rods in our windows and used clear fishing line to hang them. Strung across the windows, they resonated with the white, snowy grounds outside.

For the second display space on the wall, we created a watercolor painted mural using large pieces of white paper, large paintbrushes, spray bottles, and liquid watercolor.

We then invited guests to have their mobiles hang in the watercolor sky by stapling them to the wall. The clusters of mobiles continued to grow and eventually covered the watercolor sky.

And while this display wall has been updated for the most recent EAP, Sea…What Can You See?, the sky mobiles are still hanging in the windows, and on bright, sunny days, the sun shines through the mobiles, illuminating each material differently.


Sara smiling in front of Art Studio display.

Sara Ottomano

Art Educator from 2016-2023 at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Sara (she/her) is enthusiastic about helping others approach art through exploration and experimentation.