Be careful where you step. Everything here is important.

In his vast sculpture studio in Roxbury, Connecticut, Alexander Calder made it clear that what seemed to be clutter was in fact highly organized chaos. Calder admonished me in a friendly but emphatic tone, busying himself with snipping at a triangular piece of metal from which he was fashioning the prototype of some future stabile. Works in progress were strewn about, although Calder knew exactly where everything was. [page 22]

Filled from floor to ceiling and from wall to wall with his creations, the Roxbury house was more like a craft museum than a home. Believing it almost a sin to buy something he could make himself, Sandy would drop anything he was involved in, no matter how important, and beat out a roasting pan for Louisa or fashion a large-capacity serving ladle or a sieve. This do-it-yourself dictum was undoubtedly a carryover from their earlier, leaner days, but it had become an obsession with Sandy. [page 32]

Louisa's hand in the Calder household was obvious. She infused colors into the stark surroundings made the interiors stunning. Working on designs that Sandy drew on canvas, Louisa hooked rugs that complemented the paintings and artwork of their genius friends. The floors were Louisa's, the ceiling belonged to Sandy, and their friends festooned the walls. From Louisa's sensibility came the objects and the wares and the plants that filled the surfaces. [page 41]

There were no limits to Sandy's inspirations when it came to making jewelry for Louisa. He fashioned rings and earrings, bracelets and belt buckles, broaches and combs for her. Earrings might be small animals and insects or tiny mobiles. From initials to fancy swirls, his brooches often intertwined gold, silver, or brass with small stones or pieces of colored glass. Like his rings, they could be marvels of one-piece simplicity. Louisa displayed some of these unique creations over her dresser in Roxbury. The peasant blouses and colorful native fabrics she bought while traveling in Mexico, South America, and India made wonderful backgrounds for this wearable art. [page 44]

Excerpted from Calder at Home. The Joyous Environment of Alexander Calder by Pedro E. Guerrero

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