As a child I loved these little pinwheels. Running outside, holding my treasure up to the breeze, those few still seconds of anticipation before the wheel started to spin, and then, wonder. My first experiences with this kinetic piece ensured a lifelong fascination with inanimate objects that move.
Kinetic art explores how things look when they move and refers mostly to sculptured works. The movement is not virtual or illusory, but a real movement that might be created by a motor, water, wind or even a button pushed by the viewer.
We don't usually associate the online handmade store, Etsy, with huge pieces. But Jason Stillman of Grace Gallery has listed The Evolution of Flora, a large steel fabricated, kinetic sculpture. It measures approximately 10-11 ft tall, by about 6 -7 feet at its most wide. The piece has multiple parts that move; the flower petals spin, and the leaves flutter in the breeze. For those living in the US this piece is mighty tempting. If you go to Jason's website you can see it moving!
I'm a real fan of Sydney artist Don Pezzano's mixed media pieces and Fantasy Orrery (solar system model) doesn't disappoint. Made from junk, scrap metal, buttons, wire, typewriter parts, sewing machine parts, brass spheres, coin, paper, timber, seed pod and paint, it has a real steampunk flavor. Don has just started selling on Etsy so check out his Store.
There are some art galleries that focus solely on kinetic art. A Google search will find these. Most though seem to show the occasional piece. Place Gallery in Melbourne has allowed Australian artist, Cameron Robbins, to install his kinetic sculpture Within Without . On the rooftop, a 'wind monitor' responds to the elements, and transfers kinetic energy through axles into the gallery two floors below. There the energy operates a drawing machine, marking time and wind energy to create a series of site-specific works.
Some artists work only in this genre. Check out this whimsical Brass Dragon by the UK's Keith Newstead. And visit his website for more enchanting pieces.
Something a bit more achievable for most of us are air generated mobiles.
If you enjoy sewing you might like to attempt the bird mobile from Spool Sewing. A pattern is available for download here. If wood or paper work is more your style, Instructables have a few mobile patterns with varying degrees of difficulty.
Or maybe just whip out some paper, a split pin and a straw and make yourself a pinwheel!