in praise of magnets

CMCA ArtLab Balancing sculptures 2014

How can you balance a series of cardboard shapes on the top of a chopstick? Not so easily. Unless you add four wondrous little circles of energy: Magnets.


While all ArtLab for All Ages workshops invite some sense of play, this one added an element of science, which created a special air of methodical problem solving.


So that people were not only composing with size and shape and color and form,

Bronstein_ThisPlayground_ArtLab_Balance_Sculpture 1

but with angle and weight and position in space.


After selecting a base (I had prepared 30: drilled a hole in a wood base, set in a chopstick with glue),


each person began cutting shapes and playing with ways of balancing them on top of each other (little notches cut in the cardboard help) and on the stick.

Bronstein_ThisPlayground_ArtLab_Balance_Sculpture 2

In some moments the room felt like a toy factory,

Bronstein_CMCA_ArtLab_Balance_Sculpture 4

in others it felt like a laboratory.

Bronstein_ThisPlayground_ArtLab_Balance_Sculpture 3Fittingly, in the end, the space was filled with hybrid objects


sculptures that would stand, shift and sway with the wind,

Bronstein_inthisplayground_ArtLab_CMCAcollections of shapes that could be taken apart

inthisplayground.com_Bronstein_ArtLabto be rebuilt and recomposed, over and over again.


Though one person was occupied for nearly 2 hours with just one shape, and that balancing sculpture was no less charming and compelling.