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Alexander Calder's fanciful kitchen utensils

November 08, 2012|By S. Irene Virbila
  • Some of the oversized metal forks sculptor Alexander Calder fashioned for his wife Louisa's kitchen on the spur of the moment.
Some of the oversized metal forks sculptor Alexander Calder fashioned… (Pedro E. Guerrero / Stewart…)

I’ve been sorting my bookshelves and turned up this gem the other day: “Calder at Home” with photographs and text by Pedro E. Guerrero (Stewart, Tabori & Chang). That would be Alexander “Sandy” Calder, the American artist who is best known for his kinetic steel sculptures. As an impoverished artist in Paris in the 1920s, he designed toys, made wire portraits and, famously, created a traveling toy circus that he stashed in a series of suitcases.

He was also handy around the house and, according to Guerrero, liked to make kitchen utensils whenever his wife Louisa needed something. “If Louisa needed a special serving spoon, he quickly fashioned a graceful work of art in aluminum or silver.”

He made huge roasting grills with fanciful curlicues for the converted stone, brick and timber structure they called home in the French countryside. In the photos, you can see lamps he made out of old gelatin molds. They’re very much like the lamps at the restaurant Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in the tony Mandarin Hotel in London.

Lots of inspiration in this book if you take the trouble to find it at the library or at a used bookstore.
Now, if only someone would offer a class in welding or whatever I would need to make some of these giant spoons and forks for myself ....

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Twitter.com/sirenevirbila

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