Calder Art – Finny Fish Sculpture Project

During this last year of high school,  my aim with Mr. B has been to offer him lots of different media to work with as part of his art credit and not just the same old paints and markers. As part of our study of Alexander Calder, we are working with wire to make a sculpture much like you see in this piece called, Finny Fish (National Gallery of Art).

Source: via Barb on Pinterest


I love the free-form nature of Calder’s work, the movement of the pieces, and the colorful interpretation of the fish with its sparkling stones and other bits.

Source: via Barb on Pinterest


Calder considered his artwork to be “four dimensional drawings” which really describes the way his pieces move in the air and seem to be full of life. After viewing several pieces online, we got started.

I purchased two kinds of wire for the project:

Aluminum Sculpture Wire – 14 Gauge

Aluminum Wire – 18 Gauge


Mr. B used the idea we found online to sketch the basic shape of the fish on a piece of paper to use as a sort of template. This worked well and he had no trouble using the wire to make the outline of his fish.

Then he was ready to embellish it with some bits and pieces we had on our craft shelf. I pulled them all out and he just experimented until he found things that worked. We decided that the fish needed a stand of some sort and Mr. B created one that would allow me to set the sculpture on a shelf in our family room.

Here is what I took away from this project: Tinkering with the wire, shapes, and other bits was relaxing and very right brained. Also, it was a project that came alive as you worked on it…the wire and embellishments created problems which needed solving and in the end the piece just sort of came into being.


I love that.


Important Links:

Calder Wire Portraits

Calder Wire Sculpture – Fish

Nice Article about Calder’s Finny Fish

This entry was submitted to the Homeschool Showcase!

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