Uplifting Objects

A modern take on an old tradition

‘….silent, almost magical movement.’

This series of mobiles, both hanging and standing, is my modern take on an old European chrisms tradition. Growing up I was genuinely touched by holidays full of candlelight, wooden hand-carved Christmas ornaments, and maybe most impactful to me, by Christmas pyramids or whirligigs as they are often called. Their simple and intriguing mechanism fascinated me deeply with their silent, almost magical movement.

Their impact remained. As a Designer, I worked on this theme for well over a decade. I aimed to reduce the form as much as possible to bring out the essence even more clearly. My Uplifting Objects are the result of that endeavor.



spinne 4 b



The mountains in Germany called the Erzgebirge is the home of a very unique and worldwide known type of traditional folk art. The designs found here are often Christmas ornaments and Christmas decorations. They usually contain some elements made of turned wood.

The “Spinne” is one of the designs that came forth from this tradition. It is a wooden and mostly very ornated structure that hangs on a ball bearing (the “Venetel”) from the ceiling. The uprising air generated by candlesticks puts the whole system (including the candles) into a slow and silent motion. The “Spinne” has been around for over a hundred years by now.

As an art student back in Germany and then afterward as a designer I was intrigued by these physical/mechanical objects. I reduced them to their essence in both form and mechanical function stripped them from all their decorative elements and ended up with a pure, metal, mechanical object. All that is left is the almost magical, silent movement.





I called them ”Flügelräder” (wing-wheels). And built a small series of them.  They took off quite well and are still produced by a small company located in the Erzbebirge, Germany (http://www.hillig-art.de/startseite_fluegelrad.html).

Although I left Germany and have lived for several years in the United States, this theme never left me alone and I came up with more and more abstract versions, ending up with mobile-like, kinetic sculptures. The Uplifting Objects are part of this process.





a very brief resume

I was born in 1970 in West Germany. Dropping out of college I did an apprenticeship in a joiner’s workshop where I learned the fine handling of wood and how to build intricate pieces of furniture. With these skills in fine cabinet making, I traveled as a journeyman for almost five years all over Europe and worked in many different shops.

From 1998 to 2002 I studied art and design at the art college Angewandte Kunst Schneeberg in Saxony. In the following, after a brief episode in London, I co-founded the design studio “Studio Hartensteiner” in Leipzig, Germany.

I and my family moved to Wisconsin in 2004 where I live and work today.


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