sculptor or jeweler?

I love the work of Alexander "Sandy" Calder.  You may not know his name but I am sure you will recognize the mobiles he is famous for creating and is really credited for inventing.

Yes, tired babies and exhausted mom's the world over have Sandy Calder to thank for the sanity saving device known as the crib mobile- you learn something new every day.

This massive Mobile hangs in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, I remember as a kid looking up at this mobile and thinking it looking like floating dinosaur bones, like virtabrae scattered in air.

Here is another of my favorite Calder mobiles; Floating Foliage.  Beautiful.

I am pretty familiar with Calder's mobile work and some of his large sculptural pieces, I even spent a few hours one Sunday months ago watching a PBS special on Sandy Calder.  In those hours his jewelry work was never mentioned.  So you can imagine how excited I was when in looking up facts for this blog entry I run across Calder jewelry- woop, woop!

Most of which is bend metal, no fancy materials, no fancy stones but ingenious, creative, graceful and skilfully executed.

This brass bent wire ring was a gift for his friend and fellow artist Joan Miro but many of the 1,800+ pieces Calder created were for his wife Louisa James Calder, friends and family.

His jewelry was often super sized but still (barely) wearable. In the late '30s and early '40s, Calder's one of a kind pieces were the coolest thing for a woman to have and not expensive, about $25 for a necklace.

Because of this popularity and affordability, women would hold "Tupperware parties," offering Calder pieces for a good price to their friends. 

"My grandfather would pack up a box of jewelry --we have one of these boxes in the show -- and send them off to a woman patron who would have a little Calder party and then send the money back to him in the same box," said Alexander S.C. Rower, chairman and director of the Calder Foundation. "He needed to make a living during the war and thought jewelry making could provide a secondary income."

Most of Calder's work is untitled but the necklace above, worn here by Angelica Houston is titled The Jealous Husband .

I love Calder's jewelry, sort of raw and exotic but so well thought out, so different.

If you would like to learn more about Sandy Calder's work visit

Calder in his Paris Studio, 1931.