Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Ikebana + Modern Mobile | A Happy Accident



On truth
“It’s delicious,” fox stammered, lips puckering at the taste of an unripe berry. 
“You don’t have to pretend,” said crow. “I’ll like you even more.”

Mobile: Evergreen (unpainted), hanging from a Brew Dr. Superberry bottle.

Thoughts while making this mobile
Have you heard the story of the devil and the blackberry? For millennia, animals and insects, walking and winged, have delighted upon this sweet treat. Rising from the earth come early spring, this daughter of the genus Rubus tempts and teases. First with tiny fragile flowers seducing bees. Then as she stretches her serpentine limbs, fruit filling out, ripe and full.

Every time I walk to my studio, I pass a thornless blackberry. Cut back to the ground in winter, she emerges. And the transformation is inspiring. In June and July, great clusters of fruit appear, green-to-pinkish then to red and – eventually – to that deep, translucent purple.

This week, after some lip-puckering miscues, the squirrels and the birds told me the time had come. . I was making this mobile (pictured) today, and every time I went out to the studio, I spent a few moments head buried in this beautifully-overgrown thornless blackberry bush. Searching for those ripened gems hiding, yet inviting. Listening to bees, feeling the soil under my bare feet. And remembering to breathe deeply as my lips were kissed with childhood memories.

Legend has it that the devil, upon being cast into hell by the archangel Michael, fell upon a tangle of thorny blackberries. Clearly unhappy about this (and the general direction his poor life choices had taken him), he decided to do the reasonable thing: kick, spit, breathe fire, urinate on, and forever curse the blackberry bush. Michaelmas, as the feast day is known, falls on Sept. 29 and lore has it that it’s bad luck to eat the berries after this day. I have plenty to share for all!

What’s your favorite summer treat?

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Fireleaf Blue Modern Organic Mobile | Mark Leary Designs



On the beautiful audacity of hope
“F*&@!” yelled little blue bird. 
“What’s wrong?!” asked red fox. 
“Oops,” replied bird, embarrassed. 
“I was trying to tell people to ‘HOPE!’ but I had something stuck in my beak.

Mobile: Blue Fireleaf 
Colors: Petrol Blue, Deep Sea Blue, Prussian Blue, Shock Blue, and Alga

Thoughts while packing up this mobile
Rain or shine, she laughs. Every morning. Every afternoon. And, I’d imagine, many times in between. Despite having been confined to a wheelchair for just about her entire life. Despite not being able to speak. Despite having been told more than two decades ago she wouldn’t make it another year.

I hear her laugh when she’s loading up into the bus on dark winter mornings. I hear her laugh when arrives home on the hot July afternoons. Despite countless surgeries. Despite a culture that has trouble with persons living with disabilities. Despite not having so many of “things” that so many of us take for granted.

Today, as I was packing up this mobile – one that reminds me of the sky, of birds taking flight, of unlimited possibilities and a million different futures – her bus pulled up to drop her off. And there it was: that tell-tale joyous laugh.

I can’t know what she’s really feeling. But the family who has cared for her since she was given up as a baby talk about her happiness, about the fire within her, about how loved she is. And this gives me hope: that in that blue sky where birds fly, we really do have such possibility available to us no matter where our bus drops us off each day.

What’s your favorite four-letter word and why?

Friday, July 19, 2019

Constellation Modern Mobile | Mark Leary Fine Art Mobile



On shooting stars

“They feel like magic,” whispered little bird. 
“That’s because they are,” replied fox. “As are you.”

Mobile: Constellation II 
Colors: Tar Black, Black Red
Size: 12" x 12"

Thoughts while making this mobile
I grew up not far from the ocean in San Diego. When I was little, my folks would regularly pack up the family and haul us east. Over the Cuyamaca Mountains, deep into the Anza-Borrego desert.

Most of my memories of those early trips come from stories told years later, cast in the warm glow of my family’s 35mm slide projector. But not all them. One memory could never have been caught on film.

You know that feeling when you wake up in the middle night and you have to go to the bathroom? You lay there, not sleeping, not really awake, in this state of struggle? When you finally do get up isn’t that feeling of tucking back under the covers kind of amazing?

I rarely got out of bed at night. I was really scared of the dark. So you can imagine that – in a desert where howling coyotes lulled me to sleep – the idea of getting up to pee was wildly unappealing. . One night, however, I didn’t have a choice. I literally couldn’t hold it any longer. I slowly unzipped the tent, imagining what awfulness was waiting for me as I poked my head through the tent flap.

And that’s when I came eye to eye with something I will never forget.

Stars, so many stars. Big and little. Near and far. Everywhere I looked. Laying on the ground beside me. Resting on distant mountain tops. Like I could reach out and run my fingers through them, like phosphorescence, like fireflies, like love.

I stood there then. The world utterly still. The night holding me in this sea of light. In that moment, feeling both small and infinite. And vulnerable. And brave.

That desert is one of my favorite places in the world. As an adult, I’ve returned there many times, camping alone under those same stars; always remembering that feeling.

Where’s your magical place?

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Modern Mobile in Throwback Colors | Mark Leary Mobiles + Stabiles



On the past
“Do you miss it?” squeaked grey mouse. 
“Always,” smiled squirrel. “Always and never.” 

Mobile: The Original BS in @molotowheadquarters Petrol Blue, Tar Black, Vermillion, Caramel, Reed, Hemp, Black Red, Walnut

Thoughts while making
He laughed so hard, he began to cry. And the tears did not stop. 

A crack emerging, a lifetime focused in a moment. Magnified and intensified. First times and lasts. Heartbreaks and joy. Fear and wonder.

Memories of people long-since forgotten surfacing. Smells of places once lived. Recalling a thousand wakings and a thousand sleeps. Emotions a sea, heart beating fast and slow.

Tonight, I’m having dinner with a friend I’ve known since I was seven. Today, I pulled out a big box of letters I’ve saved over the years. They’ve traveled with me across the country and back again. Letters that date back to the early 80s. Among them are a number from her. From when we were in high school and beyond. Notes of encouragement and gratitude, support, and silliness.

The letters cracked a gateway between here and now, then and when. I found myself doing that thing where you look off into space, head cocked to the side, losing sense of where you are – or, perhaps, finding a better sense.

Perspective, that’s what it is. “To give the right impression of height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point.” In this case, that particular point is a lifetime of connection. I’m filled with gratitude as I think about the course of our friendship, and happy for the unexpected cracking open to find the whole within.

We were born a day apart in the same hospital, so this mobile is her early birthday present. It’s a re-imagined version of a stabile I created a couple-few months back, and it reminds me of the shapes and colors our friendship has taken o’ these many years.

Who offers you that kind of perspective? Perhaps reach out to them today or just hold them in your thoughts for a moment or two

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Scraps + Scrapings | Musing on Modern Hanging Art Mobiles



On Scraps + Scrapings
“I think they’re beautiful,” squirrel exclaimed. 
“I guess that proves,” fox snarled sarcastically, “that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.” 
“And isn’t that just the most wonderful thing?!” replied squirrel. 

Photo: Giving a metal curly-cue scrap from one of my mobiles her 1.5 seconds of fame.

Thoughts while making a Level Change II mobile:

Have you heard the story of Curcu the Forgotten?

Curcu lived a happy life. She had a place of her own. Likeminded friends. And things were just as she wanted. . That is, until that fateful day when I entered her world. 

When we met, Curcu was flat and shiny and proud of her rectilinear 36” x 48” dimensions. Sure she had a few dents, but who didn’t, right?

See Curcu identified as a sheet of galvanized metal. She lived at the local big box. And although wedged between 25 other identical 3’ x 4’ sheets, she dreamed of the day she’d be atop the stack. That’s where I found her.

When I brought her home, she beamed. “I’ve made it,” she thought. When I traced those curvy shapes on her, she was a little irritated—“Why would he want to mark up my beautiful shiny, flat surface?”—yet she rolled with it. When the shearers bit into her sides, irritation turned to pain, and pain to fear. 

“What are you d-o-i-n-g?!” she cried. “I’m cutting out shapes for my mobiles,” I replied, as metal curly cues fell away from my blade.

I’d never made metal cry before, and I don’t advise you try it. “But, but,” she sobbed, “I’m flat and I’m shiny and I’m rectangular. That’s who I am. That’s who I’ve always been. Can’t you understand?”

I thought for a moment. I *did* understand, but I also knew that—with imagination, hard work, and – yes – a bit of cutting—she’d experience a total transformation; her parts wholly bringing joy to many.

“Dearest Curcu,” I said, “I don’t know what the path ahead holds for you. Perhaps you’ll be scrapped and come back as a spoon or part of a rocket. But I do know you were never just one thing. You were always possibility, waiting. You were always opportunity, ready to be expressed. Change is hard, but when you open and allow, a new world of wonder awaits.”

Where’s one place you’d like to experience transformation?

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Redblack Vanilla | New Modern Hanging Art Mobile Headed to Los Angeles



On Patience
“But I don’t want to wait,” explained sparrow. “I want it now.” 
Fox twitched his tail, “Perhaps,” he suggested, “It’s less about waiting than getting excited about the right moment arriving?” 

Mobile: Redblack Vanilla 

Size: Approx. 22" wide by 28" wide tall

Thoughts while making
 I think of myself as a patient person. But that hasn’t always been the case. 

As a kid, birthdays, summer, and the end of the school day could never come fast enough. Christmas Eve was torture. Waiting for dessert was painful.

Somewhere along the way – maybe because I was tired of getting frustrated by tangled electrical cords – I found patience. Or it found me.

So you can imagine how discouraged I was the other day when it resurfaced. I was running late the gym. Wanted to make sure I got a spot in my cycle class. Sitting at the stoplight at NE Sandy and 57th Avenue, I felt like I might make it in time. Then, just as the light turned green, two police choppers zoomed into the intersection and stopped traffic. Even though I knew why they were doing it, I felt my chest constrict. My jaw tense.

The first car in the funeral procession was a deep black. The man behind the wheel was wearing a white headband, traditional for Vietnamese mourners. The last car to slowly pass through that intersection was red, and the gray-haired woman behind the wheel appeared to be crying. I was embarrassed at my impatience. Here in the face of death. A reminder that everybody – including you – is going through something, always; and that taking a moment before reacting to listen, to wait, to ask, to open, to soften, to invite, and to allow is worthwhile and important.

Where’s one place where you feel impatient?

#mobile #kunst #forartssake #artnerd #hangingart #kineticart #artwork #abstract #modernart #moderndesign #artofvisuals #artlover #artlife #interiordesign #popdesign #mcmdesign #art #hangingsculpture #alexandercalder #contemporaryart #abstractart #arte #artoftheday  #scandanaviandesign #danishdesign #sculpture

Friday, June 7, 2019

The Caldairemeiro Modern Mobile | Mark Leary Designs



On Opening Your Eyes
“My weather app tells me it’s raining outside,” said sparrow into her phone.
“Um, it is and it’s amazing. Put your phone down and get out here,” laughed gray mouse as she splashed puddles in front of sparrow’s house.

Mobile: The Caldairemeio

Size: Approx. 20" tall by 28" wide tall 

Thoughts while packing this mobile to ship
The rain came hard today. A soft gray sky turning dark and thunderous. The downpour was throaty and ominous—in that don’t f with me kind of way that nature sometimes has.

Caldairemeiro was oblivious to the weather outside—she was in my sauna of a studio enjoying a high-heat bake to make fast her colorful goodness. It’s only about 100 feet from the side door to my studio, but dang it sure looked wet out there.

I thought to myself, “Do I make run for it? Do I wait it out? This mobile needs to ship today.” So, decision made, I opened the door, and – with every intention to hightail it the studio – I nearly froze in place.

The tea roses caught me unexpected. Jeweled with a thousand tiny droplets.

Then the blackberry leaves. Little rivers streaking across a deep green.

Ferns and hostas and crocosmia. All dancing under the unrelenting rain.

And even my industrious squirrel friend raising his fist—whether in triumph for finding shelter under the lilac or giving Mother Nature the whatfor, I’m not sure.

I made it to the studio just as the rain stopped. A burst of sun breaking through, and the warmth washing over me as I slide the door open.

Caldairemeiro got packed and is now on her sweet way to Seattle. It was a small decision to take that first step, but wow: how grateful am I?

What decision did you make today that had an unexpected outcome?

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Red Rover Modern Mobile | Bon Voyage and Merci



On enough
“Can you do this?” blue bird asked as she struck a fierce warrior III pose.
“Um no,” replied turtle. “But I can do this.” 
“You’re just standing there,” said blue bird. 
“Yes, and smiling” turtle added.
 

Mobile: Red Rover (this one is on her way to Paris today) 

Size: Approx. 22" wide x 28" tall

Thoughts while making
All I did was hold the door open for her, but you’d have thought I’d just paid off her mortgage. “Aren’t you the sweetest young man,” she said, wobbling toward the post office with a cane in one hand and one of the largest crocheted purses I’ve ever seen in the other. 

“That is just the nicest thing anyone has done for me all day.” I just smiled as she finally made it to the door, “I don’t move as fast as I used to, but I still get where I want to go. Everybody’s always in a hurry. Arthritis slows me down, lets me smell the flowers. And you held the door open for me. Just the nicest thing. People don’t say thank you enough.”

She was still talking as she made her way to her mailbox, key around her neck, cane balanced against the row of little metal doors below.

I was still smiling as I covered the 20 feet between the outside door and inner door where I was greeted with a “Hi Mark, how are you?” from my favorite clerk.

Sometimes the little things are more than enough. Thank you.

What made you smile today? 

#mobile #kunst #forartssake #artnerd #hangingart #kineticart #artwork #abstract #modernart #moderndesign #artofvisuals #artlover #artlife #interiordesign #popdesign #mcmdesign #art #hangingsculpture #alexandercalder #contemporaryart #abstractart #arte #artoftheday #scandanaviandesign #danishdesign #sculpture

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Details Matter | Midcentury Modern Mobiles from Mark Leary



On Details
“But I can’t make a difference,” said gray mouse. “I’m far too small.” 
“But your heart is big,” replied owl, “And that’s all that matters.” 

Photo: Detail of Level Change mobile

Thinkings
His name was Yander. I met him on a desert road. The day was hot. I was tired. And my truck had a flat.

I’d spent the previous 5 days in search of shadows and meaning in the Anza Borrego badlands. An ill-advised trip. I’d left Long Beach packed with 2 cans of tuna fish, a handful of beef jerky, a few oranges, and a ziplock bag of Vitamin C. I had a couple gallons of slightly milk-ish water in plastic jugs, too. Oh and a journal, a dog-eared copy of The Upanishads, and a sleeping bag that smelled of barf from an unfortunate high Sierra’s backpacking trip with my dad, older brother, and a hallucinogenic marmot.  

I’d gone to the desert looking for something. Yet I’d paid little attention to the details that seemingly mattered: Water. Food. Shelter. Good sense. Not to mention a working jack or a fully-inflated spare tire.

So how is it that this ended up being one of the best little adventures of my life? I smoked a cigarillo and talked to a fly about Plato one afternoon. Watched a hill come alive with mica reflected under the rising full moon. Meditated and felt the earth thump beneath me (likely just the effects of heat exhaustion + dehydration). I emerged sunburnt, chapped, slightly frazzled—and so happy. In the end, it was these details, not the pragmatic ones, that mattered, endured.

And that’s just it, isn’t it? It’s all details, everything. And there aren’t right or wrong ones, just those we choose to focus our attention upon and those we don’t. That focus and those synergies paint the picture, write the story, make the meaning – as much about what we include as exclude.

So, I’m curious what detail you saw today – focused upon – and how it impacted you? For me, it was the loops + lines that connect the colorful bits of my mobiles, they often take a backseat but today I felt appreciation for them, as part and whole. You?

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Bubblicious Modern Mobile | New Color scheme



On the feeling

But how will I know?” she asked. 
“You’ll feel it,” explained squirrel. “Like sunshine, sweet and warm, soft upon your heart.” 
“It sounds wonderful,” said red fox. 
“It is,” squirrel smiled. “It truly is.” 

Mobile: Bubblicious Naya (New) 

Size: Approx. 34" wide x 18" tall

Hi, my name is Mark Leary, and I am a recovering trash picker. Much to my parents’ chagrin, I was incurable as a kid. The 7-year-old towheaded me would slip out of the house the night before trash day and get to work. My route was pretty simple – circling the block I’d lift lids, pick and poke, and always – always – come home with treasures.

There was the one-footed Sacred Heart Jesus statue. A five-year collection of TV guides (*whoa* that box was heavy), and a stack of “This books belongs to _____” labels. There was a puppet theater fa├žade, a high chair, and assorted odds and ends that I would either ferret away in my bedroom or – when it was too big – stash it along the side of our suburban house. No, this did not go over well with my folks, and more than once I had to hang my head and return my treasures to the very trash cans from which they came. #mortified

I can’t quite describe the sense of wonder I had when I would find something new; well “new” to me. There was something so exciting about the moment before I would open the lid – like all things were possible. My heart would beat fast, pure adrenaline racing through my little body – always an absolute amazement at what I’d find.

Wouldn’t it be cool if we always could see the world through these kinds of eyes – looking at things anew, with anticipation, with excitement for what was to come, and valuing that which we found? It’s a bit overblown, I suppose. But why? Wonder has a place in our everyday, doesn’t it?

The client who ordered this mobile asked for this particular palette. It’s a new one for Bubblicious, and it offered me a chance think these thoughts and to re-see the first production mobile “design” I ever made. I’m grateful for the reminder and the lesson.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Partsnpieces | New MCM Hanging Art Mobile from Mark Leary




On transformation

“Sometimes,” red fox explained, “standing still is the best way to move forward.”
Blue sparrow wasn’t sure she understood, but she nodded her head anyway.

Mobile: Partsnpieces. I had too many tabletop experiments from the past few days staring at me, so I decided to think about The Bobs differently, making a mobile using the same parts and pieces.

Size: Approx. 16" wide x 38" tall

Colors: Montana water-based spray paints in Burnt Umber, Deep Black, Yellow Ochre, Azo Orange, Cobalt Blue, and Titanium White

Thoughts when making: I’ve been researching air filtration systems. My studio doubles as a drying room. And the VOCs are BAD. Since I have a decent relationship with my brain, I figure I should keep it as safe as I CAN.

You probably already know this, but many air purifiers have carbon at the core. The unit I’m looking at has 30 pounds of carbon. All meant to adsorb (and, yes, I learned that word, too) gasses. The bad stuff.

It occurred to me that here’s this element that’s sole purpose – in this capacity – is to adsorb bad stuff so that my body doesn’t have to. Yet in other forms, say carbon dioxide, it’s lethal to humans, but life giving to plants. In its purest form, it has “extremely low toxicity,” yet simply grind that lump of coal and the dust will kill.

Context. Composition. Application. Approach. Intention. As I was re-purposing these four little stabiles into one new mobile, these words kept popping into my head. How the definition of a thing – the very thing itself – changes based on the fundamental questions: who, how, what, where, why, and when.

When thinking about carbon, those changes in definition could be the difference between life and death. Made me think of how often I can lock a moment, or a person, or an experience in time – and leave it there. Inert. What it is. Defined.

Rethinking how these parts and pieces could come together in new ways invited a different way of seeing, an acceptance that other configurations were possible. Allowed me to re-member how important context and intention are as I think about how I come to the world, and what I see when I ask and re-ask those essential questions, especially in situation that – on the surface – seem like I’ve experienced them again and again.

In this instance, sure, it allowed me to transform a stabile into a mobile; not getting hung up on one way of seeing possibility, one definition of what is. But more so, it made grateful to you for sharing your unique perspectives – art forms, words, fashion, viewpoints, ideas, and more. All these parts and pieces helping to expand our worlds, creating this ever-shifting and much greater whole. Thank you.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Dyad | New Modern Tabletop Mobile from Mark Leary Designs



“If we lean into each other,” squirrel said, “neither of us will fall over.” 

Mobile: Dyad 

Size: 18” tall x 20” wide 

Colors: Belton @molotowheadquarters Premium paints in Petrol Blue, Tar Black, Cashmere Yellow, Vermillion, Caramel, Reed, Hemp, Black Red, Walnut

Thoughts while making: In my cycle class, there’s this avid rider. He’s tall, probably six foot three or four. He rides in the front row, on the far left bike, and he rides hard. Often he wears a white headband to match his white hair. He’s 73 years old.

In this past year, he’s pretty much had every medical procedure you could imagine, including quadruple bypass heart surgery. . I try to talk with him before each class. He saves his old Bicycle magazines for me, and lends me books (currently Death without Company by Craig Johnson). 

He had, as you can imagine, a tough year. We talked a fair amount about sadness. And we laughed a lot, too. He’s a really good guy. 

On Tuesday, he came up to me and said, “You know, we need five hugs a day for survival, and 10 for growth?” As I started to tell him that I did know this, he leaned in and gave me a huge hug. Not a guy hug – where men seemingly can’t allow their faces touch – and not a polite pat-pat hug; but a big, big bear hug. 

And that was it. No additional explanation. I’ve known him for a couple years now, and not a single hug. I suspect he knew I needed it or maybe he did, or both: a counterbalance in a topsy-turvy world; a hit of oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin; a way to connect. And we can all use that, right?

I was thinking these thoughts as I made this tabletop. Remove either of the two individual mobiles and the whole thing will tip over. Together, however, they balance each other. Here’s to balance and virtual hugs to any, every, and all

Friday, April 12, 2019

Trust Me | All-Metal Modern Hanging Art Mobile by Mark Leary


On trust

“I gave everything,” sparrow cried.
“And now I have nothing.”
Fox waited a moment, then spoke:
“Trust me, child. You have your voice, and your song is strong and true.”
 


Mobile: Trust Me


Size: Approx. 22" wide x 36" tall


Materials: Galvanized steel and stainless wire

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Fornever | New Metal + Wood Modern Hanging Art Mobile from Mark Leary



“This time will be forever,” she said. 
“There will be no next time,” she promised. 
“You are the one,” she swore. 
Yet spring would end once again, pink petals dusting sidewalks with magic. 

Mobile: Fornever 

Size: Approx. 25” tall x 25” wide 

Materials: Sheet metal and backyard harvested live-edge laurel wood, gently shaped + dry finished 

Thoughts while making: I live in Portland now, but there’s a small canal that runs behind my house in Bend. Every evening just before sunset, the light reflects up off the water onto the undersides of the leaves of the maples, aspens, and a gentle mountain ash that line that canal. 

 I called it the Light Show, and I would come out just to sit with it. Dazzling. The golden shine cascading. A warm glow filling. 

And the ducks. Oh, the ducks. They flew low along the canal, speeding home from wherever the day held them; sometimes splashing down in a rainbow of light and color and sound. 

Taking it all in from my big ol’ papasan chair, I would dream and drift, and often cut out random shapes for future yet-to-be mobiles. I made each of these three recent wood + metal mobiles from the last of a box of shapes I cut out while living in Bend. 

Nothing lasts, necessarily. But neither does it end.

Friday, April 5, 2019

On Conjuring | New Wooden + Metal Midcentury Modern Mobile | Mark Leary Designs


“Are you sure you’re doing it right?” she asked.
“I have no idea,” I responded.
And we both laughed then,
because we knew it really didn’t matter.

Mobile: The Conjuring
Size: Approx. 16” wide x 23” tall
Material: Sheet metal + backyard harvested live-edge laurel wood, gently shaped + dry finished

Thoughts while making: I lit some Nag Champa as I made this mobile. Partly to get rid of the lingering smell of burnt brussel sprouts. Mostly because this mobile is headed to #Virginia


 I was still a kid, really. Living on the ocean in Seal Beach, CA. She rolled in like a wave. Changed everything. Packed up my ‘86 Honda Civic hatchback, and moved to Harrisonburg, VA, where I proceeded to eat a lot of #Velveeta and write truly awful poetry. 

Incense seemed ever present. And while the universe had different ideas for what that relationship would become, the smell of #NagChampa will always conjure up a rich feeling of possibility … and fabulously smelly hippies.




Wood and Metal Modern Mobile | Mark Leary Designs


“This alphabet,” explained gray wolf, “does not contain letters or numbers.
It holds the space for you and me.
So please be careful with the words you choose.”

Mobile: Untitled
Size: Approx. 21” tall x 27” wide
Material: Metal + backyard harvested live-edge laurel wood, gently shaped and dry finished

Thoughts while making: I was quiet as a kid. “Why don’t you say anything?” my mom’s mom would ask at the dinner table. “You’re such a #doof,” she would say … which didn’t help, especially since I was scared of her. 
Many years later, I came to learn Gramma was a writer, among many other things. We started corresponding when I was in college. I don’t recall why. But the small stack of handwritten and dot matrix letters are among my greatest treasures. 

Although wracked with pain, she would write about gambling at the casino, kids wearing baggy pants, @TacoBell (the only thing she would eat at 83), and to tell me something she never said in person. 

In one of her last letters written in April many years ago, she closed with “I have a feeling this is not going to be a long letter because I am shaking and I can’t type very well. You don’t have to answer this because it is more of a note than a letter. I just want you to know that I love you and I miss you.” 

Today, I’d encourage you to use your words, and use them care-fully and well.




Monday, April 1, 2019

On living with pride: New Colorful Mobile Teaches Me a Lesson



“It’s simple,” they said. 
“Be biased toward those who treat you with respect and care. 
Be prejudiced in favor of kindness and honesty. 
Be discriminating in the thoughts you hold and company you keep. 
And most importantly, love with your whole heart, and let others do the same.”

Mobile: Pride

Size: Approx. 31” tall x 21” wide 

Colors: Belton Moltow Premium paints in Signal Yellow, Light Orange, Lobster, Traffic Red, Burgundy, Indigo, Night SEEN Blue, BOOGIE Viola, Shock Blue, Jeans Blue, Menthol, and Clover Green 

Thoughts: What happens when a client asks you to take a two-color mobile and light it up like a rainbow? Fear and doubt, that’s what. I was concerned the end result would look like a clown barfed up confetti. 

I was fearful it wasn’t going to look good. Because it was different. Because it wasn’t how it was “supposed” to be. Because it was “too much.” 

But I believe art is collaborative. And taste is personal. And helping other realize their vision is critical. And exploring new ideas is essential. 

So I did it, and – wow – l love it. 

Such a great reminder of, well, so many things

Sunday, March 31, 2019

On celestial unrest: New Tabletop Mobile from Mark Leary



“But I’m not ready to get up,” complained sun. 
“I’m in the middle of a really good dream.” 
“It looks like you’ll be getting overtime again,” said moon to her stars, as she asked them to hang out a little bit longer.

Tabletop mobile: Moondream 

Size: Approx. 18” wide x 15” tall 

Colors: Belton Moltow Premium paints in Shock Blue, Pastel Kiwi, Cashmere Yellow, and Tar Black 

Thoughts: Glow-in-the-dark stars. That’s what surfaced for me when I was painting this tabletop mobile yesterday. A seven-year-old me. A #universe scattered before me on my bedroom’s rust-orange-red shag carpet. Trying to figure out the perfect pattern. Where to place those 3-4 oversized stars and that one crescent moon. Why only one #moon?! Scraping off patches of popcorn ceiling (sorry mom + dad) to make them stick better. Turning off the lights and counting down the minutes until I couldn’t see them anymore. Drifting off under a plastic canopy of illuminated #magic that I still don’t understand how it works.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

As the bird flies: New Tabletop Mobile



“Often,” sparrow explained, “the best path forward is neither straight nor fast.”

Tabletop mobile: Topsy Curvy

Size: Approx. 18” tall x 15” wide

Colors: Belton Moltow Premium paints in Walnut, Hemp, Vermillion, and Cashmere Yellow 

Thoughts: I’m excited to be creating a small series of new original and signed tabletop mobiles for the incomparable Pierre Paret and his @acmemidcentury shop in #Alexandria, VA. 

If you’re in the area, I encourage you to drop in and say hello (and try not to drool over the selection of #midcenturymodern furniture). Pierre is one of the nicest people I know, and has a passion for rescuing (and loving) the #italiangreyhound

Saturday, March 23, 2019

On shades | New Mobile - Bl(ink) | Mark Leary Designs



I really wasn’t trying to be difficult. 
“Is it a yes or a no?” she demanded. 
“Is there any other option?” I asked. 
“Because I’m feeling something more in the middle.” 
Frustrated, she stomped away from my truth. 

Mobile: bl(ink) 

Size: Approx. 22" wide x 15" tall 

Color: Belton Molotow Premium paint in Tar Black 

Over the past 10 years, I’ve easily made more than 100 of this design. The original design, Am I Blue, comes in 6 different shades of blue. In recent years, other color combos have spun on the same design (Evergreen in, um, greens, and Phoenix in reds). Yesterday I was asked if I could make it in black. Not shades of black and gray. Not white to black. Just black. It’s interesting to me that I’d never considered just using a single color on this design; a nice lesson to be open to other’s insights on our own “designs.”

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Ready to Ship Hanging Art Mobiles - 1 of a Kind - Spring Sale



Spring has sprung. 
Gray has turned blue. 
That yellow thing is back in the sky. 
And I’m about to kick off a season of mobile-making workshops. 
That means I need space… 
So it’s time to clean out the studio. 

Take 30% off any of these already-made mobiles. Three of these are my fave mobiles I made in 2018. Can you guess which ones? One-of-a-kind, not to be reproduced. First come, first spun. 

Visit my Etsy shop to grab one (or more) of these while they last.

Cheers!