While I was walking around the JustArts Faculty and Staff exhibition during its Oct. 24 opening reception day, I saw a table in the middle of the gallery with dozens of figures made out of metal wire. Some of them were animals like birds, dogs and giraffes, while some of them were human faces. While I was observing the pieces, a man standing next to the table told me to poke one of them. I followed his instructions. Guess what? The wire puppy started nodding at me! 

   After playing with the figures for a while, I turned to the person next to the table. His name is Sheldon Gilden, an engineer, a staff member at the Louis’ Deli and a master in the art of making wire figures — or what he calls the “Kinetic Mobile Arts.” The idea is to use a single strand of metal wire to create sculptures that can both stand firmly on a surface and move like a spring. 

     The more I looked at the pieces, the more I was amazed by the complexity of these little sculptures. Imagine trying to draw a bird on paper with just one stroke. Sound difficult? Try to do the same thing with one piece of wire and make the bird a three-dimensional figure. For the wire not to tangle, the creator needs to have a clear idea of every step they would take to eventually form the figure before they makes their first move. At the same time, it is just as important to have a sense of the weight of the figure to make sure that it can stand on a surface without support. In addition to that, making it move like a spring is a whole other level of technique that I still don’t fully understand.

      Gilden told me that he has been making wire sculptures for over ten years now. When his friends are celebrating their birthdays, weddings or other events, instead of buying something from a store, Gilden makes them sculptures as gifts. It’s more personal and special. At the end of the conversation, right before I moved on, he offered me a blue bird that moves up and down like it’s flying, which he made during our fifteen minutes of conversation.