• Elvin Ou

Fabrication2 - mobile

Final product:


Continuing from my last project of making a leaf lamp, I want to stick with the same material and make a suspended mobile. The initial idea was actually way more complicated than creating a mobile but the contingency of the process brought me there.


The initial idea is to experience and explore the idea of "balancing", where the device is going to be a suspended mobile sculpture with strings and dried leaf that I made. Adding on a spinning device onto the top of the string that is constantly moving with a slow speed will rotate the sculpture in a very settle way.

When the device is being approached by users, the sensor will make the speed of the spinning faster and faster until the point where the sculpture is sitting almost still because the rotation is too fast that it cannot carry the sculpture's weight. When the users walk away from the device, the spinning speed goes down, the the sculpture will slowly return to its original rotation state.(At least that is what I think it would do as I illustrated lol)

Instead of associating sensors and coding, I eventually wanted this to be a piece of pure hand craft. I focused more on the leaf itself and the wire bending to complete this project.

Image of raw material:

- flags with wire rods (I eventually took off the flags)

- plier

- leaf

Mid-process Images (repetition):

After sorting out the sizes of the leaves and putting them in an order, I went to the hardware store trying to purchase wires and wire bender Ben showed in class. I eventually could not get any of the above and ended up getting a plier and a pack of flags with wire rods. From there I started to strip out the flags off the wire so I could use it as regular wires and then started bending them with plier.

I used the first wire rod to test out the way I can bend it with a plier and I realized the wire rod was extremely difficult to bend, it was very stiff. However I liked the straightness and the thickness of the wire rod so I decided to keep working with it, and it did get better as I did it more and more times. After figuring out how to bend the wire, I started to test out the leaves and find their balancing point and connect them with the wire.

When I was trying to bend two hooks on each side of the wire rod, I encountered a new problem: How do I make sure the two hooks are on the same plane and facing the same direction? My solution was just doing it extremely slow and careful.

After figuring out how to bend the wire rod efficiently and assemble them together, I started doing the same process repeatedly starting from the smallest leaf to the biggest one. I know it sounds easy, but it actually was not. During the process I had lots of failures and repeats until I eventually picked the best version and then used them in the mobile.


- Again, be familiar with the material you are using, knowing if it is soft or firm, easy to cut or not etc.

- The same job gets easier and better the more times you do it, practice makes perfect.

- I originally wanted to cut the wires shorter to control the whole volume of the piece smaller but ended up using the wire rods with its original length ( it was impossible to cut by a plier). i am still very happy about the result tho, I don't think the length of the wire took anything away from it.