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.


On the illusion

Leaning in, the tree asked again: 
“You think you have *what*?” 
The spring leaf defiant: “Control.” 
“Ah, I see,” said old oak, remembering when she was young. 
“And when you let go, *you* will see, too.” 

This is evidence of more than a handful of attempts at control. When I finally let go of what I thought it *should* be, the base for a new tabletop stabile showed me what she wanted to be … although it took me a couple of hours to get there. 

Progressive frustration gave way to flow just past the breaking point. Sometimes I press so hard at the focused solution, I totally miss the opportunity of stepping back and allowing. 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

On remembering who you are

Standing alone there in that darkened forest, her fears crept like shadows. 
“I am,” whispered mouse feebly. 
“I am lion,” she stuttered. 
“I am lion hear me,” the words coming louder. 
“I am lion hear me r-o-a-r,” all the forest listening. 
Her belief filling the night with light. 

#tbt : That time in 2004 when I got the wild idea to start making mobiles … and got a little carried away

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

On self-perception

“It sure looks like one to me,” mused sparrow. 
“It’s definitely not,” countered red fox. 
“If it’s not a crown, then what is it?” 
Adjusting it upon her head, red fox said, “It’s a golden circle of self-esteem, studded with sparkling self-belief, and ringed by creativity and passion.” 
“Um, okay,” replied mouse. “But it still looks like a crown to me.”

Stabile: The Crowner 

Size: 18” wide x 18” tall 

Colors: Belton Molotow Premium paints in Petrol Blue, Linda’s Sunset, and Tar Black 

The Crowner, inspired by the genius of Sarah Crowner’s gorgeous Stretched Stems 1 and 2 from her Beetle in the Leaves exhibition at MASSMoCA has finally found its base. 

Off and on over the past few weeks, I’ve been playing with different wire bases to turn this mobile into a stabile. 

Unlike many stabile’s that use a heavier and solid metal bases, I like using wire to match the feel of the mobile itself. This can lead to some interesting, um, challenges in balance and counterbalance. 

With The Crowner, I wanted to create an ultra-simple minimalist and fluid base that kept with the beautiful organic motifs Sarah Crowner celebrates in her phenomenal work. 

I was aiming for a visual representation of a breath of wind. I hope I’ve done her justice here. 

For fun, I added a slight curve on the bottom of the base, so it rocks as well as spins

Monday, March 11, 2019

On ataraxy

“ek·quaw·what·it·tee?” asked mouse nervously. 
“Equanimity,” repeated spider slowly. 
“And wh-wh-why,” blurted mouse anxiously, “do you think finding it could help me?” 
“It could bring you equilibrium.” 
And that’s when spider knew this was going to be a v-e-r-y long day. 

Mobile: Equanimity 

Size: 18” wide x 24” tall 

Colors: Raw, sanded metal … soon to be Nature White and headed to Quebec

I’d seen the sign a couple years ago. It’d be hard to miss. It’s pretty big. At the time, I thought it was a billboard for a Christian bookstore. And, honestly, its tagline seemed a little over the top: A Place of Solitude, Peace, and Prayer. All for a bookstore?! Well, turns out I was wrong. The Grotto is “possibly the best kept secret in Portland.” With 62 acres of meticulously manicured gardens, lush winding walking paths, and sweet quiet spots with spectacular views, it is one of the city’s largest green spaces and sees over 300K visitors a year. Officially, a National Sanctuary and home to the Servite Order, The Grotto was dedicated in 1924 with an all-inclusive proclamation that rings as right today as it did back then: “Let this be a sanctuary of peace for all peoples of the earth. Torn with differences, strife, and grief, the world needs sanctuary where the human spirit can seek peace and consolation.” The whole experience *was* really peaceful AND a good reminder for me that what we look for is often what we’ll see. I’m happy I looked again and was open to seeing something different.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Create a Hanging Art Mobile: Mobile-Making Workshop with Mark Leary
Hands-on. Interactive. One-on-one.
Limited to a maximum of four people.  

Come join me for an extraordinary 1-day mobile-making class. Arrive curious and leave with your very own mobile (a $99 value). We’ll spend the day together in my backyard studio in NE Portland where you’ll learn every step of the mobile-making process.

  • Learn the fundamentals of mobile design and balance
  • Walk through each stage of the mobile-making process
  • Make and paint your own mobile based on my bestselling "Am I Blue" design (retails for $99)
  Every participant leaves with an 
Am I Blue mobile (retails for $99)

This is a hands-on workshop with 1:1 guidance and support. You’ll be using hand- and power tools. You’ll be bending wire, cutting, drilling, and sanding metal, and painting. And, most of all, you'll be having FUN!

Contrary to popular belief, mobile making does *not* have to be difficult. With the right instructions and help, you'll be a mobile making whiz in no time at all! 

In addition to leaving with your own mobile (valued at $99), you'll come away from the day with everything you need to know to continue making mobiles on your own (and I'll be here to answer any of your questions in the future).

*All tools and materials included. Light snacks and sparkling water provided. 

Please feel free to message me with any questions and to get all the details.

Save your spot on my Eventbrite page. [REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED]

I look forward to a terrific workshop with you.




Why does it cost $200?
You'll spend an entire day working one-on-one with a master mobile maker to create your very own mobile. This isn't a teacher at the front of the classroom. This isn't one-size-fits-all. This is you and me working side-by-side together to help you learn every step of the mobile making process. The mobile you'll make retails in my shop at $99, so for an investment of a little over 100 bucks more, you're equipping yourself with the skillset necessary to rock out mobile after mobile int the future. 

Isn't learning how to make a mobile super difficult?
Many people think you need to be an engineer or good at math or a design guru to figure out how to make a modern mobile. Fact is, anybody can learn to make a mobile and -- psst with the proper guidance - it is not only easy, but super fun, too. Once you learn the fundamentals and basic techniques, you can explore more and more complex designs and layouts.

Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?
Because we'll be working with power tools and all participants will be signing a waiver, I ask that you be 21 years or older. If you are younger, please message me to discuss your options.

What can I bring to the workshop?
Curiosity. A willingness to learn. Creativity. A bag lunch (light snacks and sparkling water will be available throughout the day). A readiness to have fun and create art!

How can I contact you with any questions?
You can contact me directly via email at

What's the refund policy?
You can request a full refund up to seven (7) days before the workshop. If you need to cancel within 7 days of the workshop, you can apply your fees to an upcoming workshop with me.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

On individuality

“I’m afraid I won’t turn out like the others.” 
“You don’t have to worry,” said sly fox. 
“But how can be so sure?” asked hedgehog. 
“Because there’s no chance you’ll turn out like anyone else.” 
This was a good thing, hedgehog thought, as she sat a little taller on her rock. 

Mobile: On the mobile-making menu tonight are the parts + pieces for Blue Viola, Blue Moon Rising, and three Am I Blues. 

It doesn’t matter how many times I make these mobiles, I’m always concerned they won’t turn out “like the picture.” And yet they always do AND they’re always different. Isn’t this the beauty of all things handmade? Working on celebrating the differences and similarities as I mobilize this eve.

Friday, March 1, 2019

On (in)sight

She moved the curtain back. 
“What do you see when you close your eyes?” 
“Darkness,” I said. 
Taking my hand in hers, she asked again. 
And that’s when everything became clear.

Mobile: Rock, tree, moon and sky Size: 9” wide x 10.5” tall 
Colors: Belton Molotow Premium paints in Signal White, Aquamarine, Autumn Leaf, and Sapphire Blue

In the space that sits between you and me, I and thou, lives the liminal. A threshold. A decision. Do I take a step? Do I stand still. Do I cross over? In that moment, a risk. A chance. An unknown. We face it every day. Rites of passage. We make the choice to step or not to step many times in every one. Sometimes even when the outcome is not clear. To step or not to step, only you know the answer.