Wire Sculpture

from The New Book of Knowledge®

ART HISTORY ON DEMAND > Materials and Techniques >

Wire is one of the most commonly used materials in today's world. Coat hangers, paper clips, springs, nails, and safety pins are all made of wire. Telephones, radios, automobiles, bicycles, toasters, and even mouse traps contain many wire parts. Florists, watchmakers, builders, and television repairmen all work with wire. And since there are so many different kinds of wire, people are finding new ways to use them.

Wire is used not only in industry and manufacturing, but in art, too. For example, wire is one of the favorite materials of sculptors who make constructions and mobiles. Jewelry makers like to work with wire, and many of them create beautiful and valuable pieces from costly gold and silver wire.

The best thing about working with wire is that anyone can do it. All sorts of things can be made from wire that is very inexpensive or costs nothing at all. Because so many things are made of wire, it's easy to find bits of it for almost every kind of project. Coat hangers, for instance, are made of tough, sturdy wire that's just right for mobiles. Discarded telephone wire can be hammered into beautiful jewelry. Scraps of wire netting or chicken wire can be twisted into exciting animal forms. Tools are no problem either, as many lovely objects can be made with the simplest tools or no tools at all.

Many other materials can be used along with wire to make your projects more interesting. Old corks or styrofoam both make excellent bases for your sculpture to stand on. Beads, feathers, and silver foil can all be used to make your constructions more exciting.

The most important thing to remember before you start a project is to make sure you choose the best material. Soft florist's wire is excellent for jewelry or for binding heavy shapes. Choose heavier wire if you're making a mobile or a figure. Start with a simple project and go on to more difficult ones.

John Lidstone
Professor of Education
City University of New York
Author, Building with Wire


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