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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Button Overdose? (May 24, 2011)

If overdosing is dangerous, would an overindulgence in buttons be bad? Impossible!

A few days ago I met up with the owner of a custom clothing store, went into the adjacent storage building, and pored over buttons. Thousands of them. And it was awesome.

The owner is closing his business after twenty years to pursue another one. So he has buttons he doesn’t need. Buttons I need.

“Need,” you say? Well, yes. It’s not a need like water, food or medicine. But I need to feel artistically inspired, and let me tell you, in a nondescript warehouse, surrounded by bags and boxes full of buttons, I was inspired. Lately I’ve been experimenting with fabric and buttons, creating wearable art, and so this button surplus came across my radar at the perfect time.

He’s selling buttons at a great price and I left with one hundred or so. Some are part of a set and others are not matched. I have ideas for both types.

The selection was dominated by white plastic and gray metal buttons. Although I’m obsessed with color, I really liked the designs on the buttons and decided that white or metal buttons would contrast well against the bright colors I will use in my designs.

Some have amazing detail, like this squirrel button. The dime shows how small these buttons are, yet they are so full of detail.

On a philosophical note, you know what’s cool about buttons? Buttons are so ordinary, so easily overlooked. We use them every day but probably don’t think about them once our clothes are fastened. But they have the potential to be amazing decorative features, adding a great finishing touch to a piece of clothing or to a piece of art. As an artist, I think it’s fun to see what can be done with ordinary objects from daily life. Look around you. The things you never think about, the things that seem merely functional—these are art projects, just waiting to be discovered…

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