Friday, June 30, 2017

A Life in Buttons

(Above:  A Life in Buttons, 3D Mixed Media button artwork.  When closed:  8 1/2" x 3" x 4 3/4".  Vintage cigar box collaged with international postage stamps and letters clipped from antique sources; five old spice bottles filled with buttons and labeled; small silk pillow.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Just in case anyone following my blog thinks my obsession with buttons is waning, think again!  I have plenty more ideas!  This is the latest, finished piece.  I've been working on it for several weeks because I didn't already own the glass spice jars.  I actually went to a nearby antique mall to find them.

 (Above:  A Life in Buttons, detail.)

I will likely be making more works using this same concept.  Why?  Because there are so many other occasions that might have been commemorated:  birth, graduation, divorce, mid-life crisis, near death experience, cancer diagnosed, cancer in remission, birth of a son/daughter, miscarriage, declaration of gender preference, first gray hair, remarriage, volunteer of the year award, facelift, first house, onset of dementia, first time voting, new citizenship, advanced degree, successful marathon, weight loss goal, death of a spouse/parent, baptism, DUI citation, first novel, last mortgage payment, etc.

  (Above:  A Life in Buttons, detail of the lid almost shut.)

I have other boxes.  I envision other containers for buttons ... and boy do I have more buttons!

  (Above:  A Life in Buttons, detail.)

It was lots of fun selecting the buttons to mark the four milestones in life I did select:  Christening, Promotion, Wedding, Retirement, and Funeral.

  (Above:  A Life in Buttons.)

It was even more fun to collage the box with postage stamps and letters clipped from vintage magazines and sheet music.  When I was a kid, I collected stamps ... mostly because my Dad collected stamps.  Interestingly enough, my husband Steve collected stamps too ... because his Dad collected them.  Finding stamps from all sorts of foreign countries was wonderful and taught me geography.  My favorite stamps, however, were 1972 Munich Olympic stamps ... any sport ... any country.  (My parents had a summer studies program to Salzburg, Austria. During the summer of 1974 we often visited the construction site that became Olympic Village.  We returned to the USA before the games began and, like most, watched on television.  Although those Olympic games are forever marred in tragedy, I still remember those happier days first and foremost ... and the many stamps I collected for years thereafter.)

 (Above:  A Life in Buttons, detail of  the back of the cigar box.)

Before adding any stamps, I lightly sanded all the surfaces of the cigar box.  I used Golden's polymer gloss medium to adhere the stamps and clipped letters.  The work was allowed to dry overnight.  Then, I waxed all the surface.  Acrylic media tends to remain a little sticky ... especially where it comes into contact with other areas covered in acrylic medium ... like the hinged area and the parts of the lid that fit into the walls of the cigar box.  Once waxed, nothing sticks and there's a lovely, smooth finish.

  (Above:  A Life in Buttons, detail of the bottom of the cigar box.)

I decorated the bottom of the cigar box the same way.  Please notice that there are no 1972 Munich Olympic stamps on this box.  I always kept them separated from my main stamp album.  I'm trying to think of something special for those stamps ... and the hundreds of others still carefully applied in my main album.

 (Above:  My childhood stamp album.)

It was like a walk down memory lane to browse through the pages of my stamp album.  Using my stamps felt like giving them a new life.  For me, international stamps are symbolic of the entire world and all the lives being lived.  They represent travel and different cultures and a common denominator across borders.  They are an outward expression of many, many lives ... in buttons and otherwise.

1 comment:

Shasta Matova said...

What a great concept - shows the universality of life events. And you don't have to sew them on anything!