Equilibrium (Mobile)

When we think of balance, our minds cast to Linden Art Prize 2019 Encouragement Award winner, Andrew Atchison. 

This activity is inspired by Atchison's Figure in the Round (Mobile), a stunning example of a “free-wheeling mobile form to depict the subject as a shifting constellation.” In order to find a perfect balance between differently shaped objects, each a different material and weight, one must shift each component and re-evaluate it’s position. Just like life, we must constantly shift and adapt to restore balance.

Activity & photos by Jasmin McNeill.


  • String
  • Thread
  • 2 skewer sticks
  • Scissors
  • Things to hang on the mobile, such as:
    • Paper
    • Fishing sinker/weight
    • Beads, etc.
  • Something to hang the mobile from, such as: 
    • Chair
    • Coat hanger
    • Door handle, etc.

    autumn flora sculptures

    Monet, The Galette

    Step 1

    Prepare the foundation of your mobile. Start by cutting one skewer stick into two unequal sections. Additionally, cut off the points on the ends of the skewer sticks for a little safety measure.

    Step 2

    To tie your structure together, cut 3 pieces of string twice as long as your desired hanging length (if you cut more than you think you need, you can always shorten it later.)

    Tie a loop at the end of one string, using the Perfection Loop knot (Make sure the loop is wide enough to fit on your hanging support.)

    Then tie the skewer sticks together as pictured above using this Strangle knot.

    Monet, The Galette

    Monet, The Galette

    Step 3

    Select two objects for the first arm of your mobile. And tie them onto the mobile.

    Inspired by the designs of Atchison’s mobile, we used paper origami. There are some great shapes and tutorials available on Youtube. This shape is called an accordion egg. 

    Step 4

    When your objects are tied on, the mobile will be off balance. To set the balance, move the objects up and down until the stick hangs perfectly horizontal when you let it hang freely.

    As a tip, move heavier objects to the centre of the stick and lighter objects further out.

    Monet, The Galette

    Monet, The Galette

    Step 5

    Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the second arm of your mobile. Choose two objects and tie them onto the mobile. Again, set the balance on this arm of the mobile by moving the objects up and down the stick.

    This time, we chose things that are much heavier than paper, including a fishing sinker and some buttons.

    Step 6

    You’re now ready to finish your mobile and set the balance of the supporting stick. Once you have found the right balance, you can experiment with different levels, combinations and settings to make your mobile work.

    How accurately can you predict their point of balance?

    Monet, The Galette

    well done!

    Now, to apply to life...

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