posable sculptures : the key

For the past year and a half I’ve been an instructor at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art. I’ve led workshops, designed interactive installations, worked with visiting school groups, and created projects for a free, monthly, open-to-all-ages ArtLab. While I’m constantly researching, inventing and tweaking projects for all of the above, it’s this last category which I find most challenging, and usually most inspiring. The big challenge of ArtLab for All Ages is to design projects that can be completed by anyone of any age, in two hours. But the deciding factor for me is whether the project is fun. And cool. This is hard to define, but I know it when I see it, and I know it because I’ve gone through the often ridiculously long process of making it myself. October’s project is a great case in point.

A few weeks ago I saw this figure in the Princeton University Art Museum store. Having just completed a workshop with balancing sculptures, I knew that I wanted to do an ArtLab project with posable sculptures. The issue that was immediately evident was the issue of the ball and socket joint, which allows for a 360 degree turn.

That issue was compounded by the need for the joint to be able to hold on to the segments that it’s connecting. Searching the internet for “ball and socket joint hardware” was not promising. These pieces are expensive, and not readily available. But a trip to the hardware store and a long time spent in the aisles combining bits and pieces eventually solved the problem, and within budget:

Can you see what I did to make a ball and socket facsimile? Here’s a hint: There are 7 components in each of the “joints.” Because my own odyssey to finding the resolution was long and complicated, I’m not going to give it away so quickly. 🙂

However, if you live in Maine, you can join me on October 6th from 2-4 pm at CMCA, where you’ll not only see the key to the ball-and-socket-mystery for yourself,

 you’ll be able to jump right in (alone or with your child) and make your own sculpture.