Mesmerising Kinetic Sculptures by Fellows Mobiles
Product Feature
Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Words Rose Onans
Photography Paul Vizzari

A trip to the Guggenheim to view Alexander Calder’s kinetic sculpture Red Lily Pads inspired husband and wife team Paul Vizzari and Lydia Sumner, the creative duo behind Fellows Mobiles.

Fellows Mobiles are mesmerising, delicately balanced sculptures hand-crafted from brass and Australian timbers. The warmth and weight of these materials lends a beautiful contrast to the lightness of the mobiles, the suspended silhouettes seeming to float in ever-shifting formation with the slightest movement of air.

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Fellows Mobiles create kinetic sculptures handcrafted from brass and Australian timbers. Photos by Paul Vizzari.
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Balance is key to the sculpture’s structure – literally a half a millimeter off and the entire piece is affected, so mobile making “is a slow and patient art”, says Lydia. Their experience making mobiles means Paul and Lydia intuitively understand the balance points, so their design process can begin immediately in 2-D modeling before each piece is balanced and hung by hand.

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Lydia Sumner at work in the Fellows Mobiles Melbourne studio.
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Lydia Sumner and Paul Vizzari, the husband and wife team behind Fellows Mobiles.

“In a way, our work sits somewhere between being a product and a piece of sculptural art – at least that is how we approach making each piece”, Lydia says. “No two mobiles are ever exactly the same, but we think that is what makes them special, and what makes us want to keep creating them.”

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The mobiles are created on hand tools and hung and balanced by hand.
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The couple met while working in London. Paul is formally trained in Communication Design and now also works as a freelance illustrator, while Lydia studied Product Design and completed postgrad studies in Graphic Design. Moving back to Australia, Paul says, “really allowed us the mental and physical space to be able to explore this creative idea of mobile making.”

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“American timbers like Oak and Walnut seem to be so popular right now, but our favourites are Australian Blackwood, Huon Pine and Victorian Ash – we are so lucky to have such a wonderful variety here in Australia”, says Paul.
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An empty house on their return provided the perfect excuse to get away from their computers and onto the tools, building furniture and making their first mobiles. “We loved the serene feel they brought to our space and we wanted to work together to create more mobiles that others could enjoy” explains Paul.

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Being handcrafted, no two mobiles are exactly the same.
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As kinetic sculptures, their beauty lies not only in their forms and materiality, but in the intangible nature of the arrangement, which might change at any moment with a breath of air. Slow and measured in the making, calming and contemplative in their presence, Fellows Mobiles are a beautiful antidote to the rushed pace of everyday life.

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Published 10 January, 2019
Photography  Paul Vizzari
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