Kinetic Sculpture – Art-O-Motion – Lesson Plan

Kinetic Sculpture – Art-O-Motion – Lesson Plan

Hi, I’m Julie Davis
with Blick Art Materials. Kinetic art is designed
to incorporate motion. In 1913, Marcel Duchamp mounted a spinning
bicycle wheel onto a stool to make what
we consider to be the first kinetic sculpture. It required touch
to make it move. Other artists
have used motors, air currents, water, and gravity to
get their art moving. Today, I’d like to show you
how to make Art-O-Motion. It’s a simple, pulley operated
mechanical sculpture that’s so fun to play with,
your students won’t even notice that they’re learning
design principles and simple physics. Let’s start with
the background. You’ll need to use
something really rigid. I have a piece of
corrugated plastic, which I cut down
from a larger piece. You could also use foam board,
but this is more durable. Now, to determine
the size and placement of the moving parts, measure and mark the panel
as I’ve done here. This will help you decide
how large to make the gears, or the rotating pieces
of the sculpture. They can overlap one another,
but not run into each other. So these will be about
five inches in diameter. Now the gears can be made
from just about anything. These are mostly done
with poster board. They can be simple
and straightforward like this one, or somewhat more complicated
like this one here. I like them to
look mechanical, so I’ve chosen to
use metallic markers and metallic boards, but they can also be
colourful and whimsical too. If I turn this one over, you’ll see I’ve glued a wooden
spool to the back side. I’ve also chosen to glue
a couple craft sticks to the back, just to give it
some extra support so it doesn’t warp or bend. Now we’ll go ahead
and assemble the sculpture. These pointed
wooden sticks are useful for a variety of art projects, and today I’m going to
use them for axles. It goes through the spools,
and out the front of the gear. Next, take a pony bead
and put a drop of glue inside, and thread that onto
the front of the stick. Set it aside to dry. While it’s drying,
go ahead and create the holes in
the corrugated background. They need to be big enough for
the stick to thread through. Another pony bead,
and another drop of glue. Thread it onto the back side. You’ll want the spool to
sit flush against the corrugated panel, but you don’t want it so tight
that it can’t move. Repeat this for each gear. Now let’s take a look at one
that’s ready for some motion. As you can see, I’ve used
a variety of spool heights, and trimmed the excess length
of the wooden stick on the back side. Using a piece of nylon cord
about twice the size of the background, I’ll loop it around each spool
going in the same direction. Now to keep the cord
from coming off the spools, I’ve created a stop with
a piece of wire poked through the
corrugated background and bent around
to the back side. Next I’ll thread
the nylon cord through the stop
on either side. And as a final step, I will tie a bead or two
on each end. I know that was quick,
so if you want more details, photos and illustrations
of this project, please go to, and download
an instruction sheet for the Art-O-Motion
Mechanical Sculpture. You’ll also find a complete
materials list and the National Standards for
Visual Arts Education. Thanks for joining us. Captioned by GigEcast

6 thoughts on “Kinetic Sculpture – Art-O-Motion – Lesson Plan

  1. Love the idea. Really unique – thank you. Am going to block print some altered papers for the gears, so that I make a mechanical patterned sculpture,

  2. I got my satisfaction from watching this video. now my urge to actually do something is gone. yep. i'm still looking at the same pile of mismatched and ugly cardboard and rubber bands, but oddly enough it doesn't bother me as much as it did before. gotta go, time to kill some cockroaches /// thanks for the video

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