Calder was fond of animals and made sculptures of spiders, elephants, cows, horses, and birds. Calder said, “Caricature is an effective means of study.” Discuss how this applies to Only Only Bird. Discuss how Calder captured the essence of the bird by using an unusual material, here, tin cans.
Create a sculpture of an animal using flat pieces of cardboard, foil, or plastic, found objects, and wire.
Despite the fact that the sculpture is made of stiff tin cans, it seems to be in motion. How does the artist achieve this feeling of motion?
The sculpture is called Only Only Bird because on the rear of the bird, under the tail feathers, the printed legend of one of the cans is visible. It reads, “ONLY Aborn’s [Coffee] dares reveal its complete blend because Aborn’s uses ONLY highest priced premium coffee and nothing else!” Why do you think the artist drew attention to the cans of which the sculpture is made? Is he making a joke about advertising? Is he saying something about art? Discuss these ideas.
Place a bird feeder outside of the window. Pick a particular type of bird to study. Keep a bird journal to record observations in the form of writing and pictures. Create a final drawing and/or written description of your subject.
Do any of the birds look like Only Only Bird? Why or why not?
How is this large bird able to balance on such a thin string? Investigate balance and equilibrium.
In 1951, Calder used tin cans for this sculpture. What materials are used for containers now? Research metals and other materials used today. What are their advantages? Disadvantages?