Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What's on your worktable Wednesday: Revisiting buttons

I decided to play along on What's On Your Worktable Wednesday or WOYWW this week which is hosted by Julia, one of the sweetest people ever. Her private e-mails to me were simply adorable and I knew I'd feel right at home participating. I've considered it for the past two weeks, but the timing was wrong. Since my tutorial has now been postponed until Friday, I had the chance to play. There are about a gazillion or so other players (OK, I exaggerated, it was only 80 last week), so please visit their work spaces when you have the time.

The idea of WOYWW is to show what's on your worktable each Wednesday morning, and since once again I'm featuring recycled materials (have I mentioned Earth Day is turning 40 this year? OK, have I mentioned it lately?), it is only fair that I have an eco-friendly project going on my worktable.



I recently wrote a review on Terry Taylor's book "Button Button." If you recall, I wasn't too impressed with the book. Most of the projects were "crafty," not up to the style I often associate with Terry Taylor. This was on my worktable a few days/weeks ago.

About the time I wrote the review about Taylor's book, I found this book on buttons at a different library. The Button Craft Book was written by Dawn Cusick (Sterling Publishing, 1995).

The book begins with various button collectors showing their favorite buttons.

Here are some examples, taken from pages 14 and 15. If the photos look a bit hard to see, so are the words, which are written ALL IN CAPITAL LETTERS and gray, not black, text. Select quotes are in bold black letters.


The author had it really easy. All she had to do was collect projects and quotes. She didn't even have to edit anything, since all the words were quoted by whatever artist was featured on that page.


I enjoyed and was inspired by two projects in particular.


Pages 78 and 79 had broaches and jewelry I found fascinating. I was particularly taken by the jewelry on page 79 and got inspired by the projects on that page.


Can you possibly imagine how many buttons you would need to make the necklace displayed on the left in this picture? Each necklace (page 76) begins with a crocheted chain. There are around 350 buttons on the one shown on the left.


The other project that piqued my interest was the one displayed on the left, page 58 in the book. It was paper buttons. Layers of paper are soaked in a combination of beeswax and paraffin, removed and allowed to cool. To get rid of the raw, frayed edges, the artist held the buttons under a Bunsen burner.

Although the author only collected the projects, I enjoyed reading this book. The projects were much different from the craft book written by Terry Taylor. Not only did I learn how to make beautiful custom made buttons that were works of art on their own, I was also inspired by several lovely projects in the book. This also was on my worktable several days ago.

So where, you ask, is the post about what is on your worktable today?


While the ideas that swirled through my head from the above book were still fresh, I got out my buttons and decided to make a broach (or is it brooch?) or two of my own. After all, buttons are the ultimate recycled material. So that is what you see on my worktable this Wednesday morning.


While looking for watch faces, which I never found, I came across these mirrors, ravaged by the flood I had last year. I probably should have trashed them back then, but they were OK except for the fact they were badly pitted and scarred from sitting in water for several days. I had a total of four mirrors to play with. I began by auditioning my various clock hands to see which ones fit best.


Next I got out my buttons to see which ones looked the best with the hands I chose.


Before I glued anything in place (using E6000), I did a dry run. Every time I moved one button, they all shifted. This was really frustrating, so I decided to glue the hands and center button in place before I proceeded. That allowed me a bit more freedom to play with the designs.


Here are my finished pieces before the pin backs go on. The third, made solely from buttons, is still in the design phase. I really like how these turned out, but I will probably add some really tiny black buttons as filler to the broach on the right. I think it needs something more because there are too many open spaces. Overall, I was very happy with the outcome of this project, although I was limited by the color, style, and size of the buttons I had to play with. I hope (that's a big word) to use the other two mirrors as the backdrop for steampunk inspired pins. So that's what was on my worktable today and my first ever WOYWW post.

My blog pick of the day came by way of Chriss R, a fellow Tea Tuesday participant. I saw where she wished Chris of Bling-Kin-Eck, a frequent commenter on my blog, a happy birthday today. I got confused because it was already tomorrow in England (the UK) when I wished Chris a happy birthday. I thought I was late, but was right on time. It may be Chris's birthday, but she's got lots of presents for visitors to her blog in the form of stamping, color, stamping, shrines, stamping, tags, stamping, handmade cards, stamping, arches, stamping, and she's a member of Dress Up 2010, hosted by Margaret. BTW, did I mention she's a stamper? So if you've never been to her blog, go check out her art. If you know her art, go wish her a Happy Happy Birthday!

49 thoughtful remarks:

Diane said...

I love these brooches, and I like that idea to show what's on your work table, but knowing me I would set the stage for some elaborate WIP for the post :)

Debby said...

WOW!!! These brooches are very kewl!

Nicks said...

sorry to hear ou were flooded but one postitive outcome was those mirrors they are fab

Wipso said...

Some really fab stuff going on on your desk.
A x

Julia Dunnit said...

How cool a WOYWW is that - the most comprehensive I'd say! See I love your brooches,would be scared to death to make my own - but would rather use buttons in the paper craft style of the Button Button book. Which just goes to show how subjective everything is! On the other hand - I'd buy my weight in buttons if someone wants to make the necklace for me!!

La Dolce Vita said...

more fun upcycling! just great!

Terri Kahrs said...

You're right, Elizabeth! Buttons ARE the ultimate recycled material, and they're a ton of fun too. Love the way you've used the recycled mirror as a base for your brooches. They're beautiful! Hugs, Terri xoxo

Susie Sugar said...

Love the brooches and your button book, I love posh buttons I have lots you have just inspired me to get them out and use them !! thanks
And thanks for visiting my desk
Hugs Susie xx

Handmade with Love said...

Love the button book and your brooches look fantastic! Tracey x

Nathalie Thompson said...

I can't get enough about buttons. I loved this post!

craftytrog said...

Can't see the final picture, but I bet they look fabulous!

Sarah said...

Love what you've done with those buttons

Vicki said...

those books look interesting!!!! i like your brooches too - very cute. welcome to WOYWW!!!

Paula Gale said...

wow - some fabby materials here and buttons - they're not like they used to be are they???

Paula x x x

Annmaree said...

I love Buttons too! What your working on looks great!!!

Mummylade said...

what fantastic project!

Halle said...

Looks like fun! Buttons are so versatile!

airing cupboard crafts said...

Sorry to hear you were flooded.

Your project looks wonderful x

Twiglet said...

Great blog - I love buttons and your little brooches are so neat!

joey said...

Hiya

ooooh I love your brooches

Joey.x

Andrea - Wales, UK said...

Lovely brooches - really great blog.x

Chris said...

I love your review of the book hun and was delighted to see you making your own brooches to share with us... love them...really clever :D

Thanks sooooo much for the Birthday wishes and for mentioning my art in such a wonderfully positive way.... Thank you... thank you.... thank you. What a wonderful lady you are!!

hugs
Chris xx

Spyder said...

I shall now get my button tin out and do something with them!
(Lyn)

Julie said...

These brooches are brilliant- aren't buttons the best!! Juliexx

Cathy said...

WOW! interesting way to use buttons.
thanks for visiting my desk
Cathy, xxx

Melinda Cornish said...

I love buttons....I always hope to find them at a garage sale or swap meet...I know people do, I just havent been that lucky yet! your jewelry is beautiful....I wouldnt even dare to show my worktable today.....

Linby said...

Thanks for visiting my desk. Love your brooches and the books look interesting.
Linbyx

Crafty Chris said...

Hi and welcome isnt it great havin a nosey around everyone's desk, you find great inspiration, and I def found some here, love the brooches great idea with the clock hands, I love visiting Chris as well she a very talented lady, love her art work, your cat is just adorable, off now to have a nosey round the rest of your blog, god arent I nosey.
Christine x

Angie said...

I love nosing around because I come across crafts and ways to use things that I've never come across before ....like your button broaches ...what fun. I am also just nosey lol but it all now takes me a couple of days to get round .
Welcome to the 'club'...cant believe how many follow now .... 45 weeks on

Stephanie Mealor Corder said...

Oh I LOVE your brooches and the way you led us through the process from inspiration to culmination! And they are absolutely beautiful- I wish I could buy one....When are you gonna get around to that necklace? Seriously, I hope you do one, because I think it would be amazing!

lv2scpbk said...

Great craft post.

~*~Patty Szymkowicz said...

Love buttons, old and new and making something like your lovely brooches is great use of them
I just visited a vintage shop and bought the most gorgeous glass buttons on original cards...I fear they may never make it off the cards ... for now I will just enjoy looking at them, happy that I got to "rescue" a card or three ;)
I am coming back later to read your latest interview, I need time to sit quietly and take it all in ... must now fly out the door for tea!
Happy Thursday E!
oxo

Esme said...

Ooh very interesting workdesk!! Love what you've done with the buttons, and the book review!!
Thanks for popping over to my very late WOYWW!!

Esme xx

butlersabroad said...

Great first post Elizabeth and don't worry about how long it takes you to get round to everyone, takes me days sometimes!

Brenda

Jane said...

Sorry I am a day late...just takes me ages to get through everyone! I love your brooches they are Brilliant!!

peggy gatto said...

Wow, very interesting and I learned some more new stuff, thanks!!

Toucan Scraps said...

fabulous broaches. I'm really impressed. Lovely to see you at WOYWW

Penni said...

Fab brooches, I love buttons. Bleubeard is gorgeous too.

Hugs
Penni
X

Rachel said...

Gorgeous stuff. Can't wait to read more. And thank you so much for stopping by my blog. It was lovely to hear from you.

theneon said...

Great post and great project! Also enjoyed reading your interview with the Surf Bunny. I am an avid recycler -- and my family is "afraid" to throw anything away without "approval."

The Inky Minx said...

fab fab brooches, and welcome to the addictive world of the woyww'er, you'll be back next week for sure lol

Liverpool Lou (Anne) said...

Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog. As you may notice on your next post, I've been having huge probs with my PC which is why I'm only just visiting now.
Love your projects :)
Anne x

Cardarian said...

Love your brooches and that button book - I must find it! Very interesting post!
Cardarian

Dawn said...

Thanx for managing to get back to my blog hun. I am very impressed by your new creations Just shows you , don't throw anything away lol. Lovely to stop by and have a nosey looks like lots of others did too so a very warm welcome, has been given I may start doing this every week lol

Love Dawn xx

Cher~ said...

Loved the books on buttons. Thanks for the peeks into your books. What a great idea for recycling the buttons.

Sue from Oregon said...

such wonderful magazines and great inspiration pieces as well!

Jenny said...

Wow I love those broochess, it's so good when you're inspired to come with something so original x x

Kathy said...

Thank you for visiting my blog - and thank you for sharing yours on WOYWW - what a treat to wander through your photos and crafting - an absolute joy!
I'll be back again for more...

Debs said...

I was wanting to know how to age and distress mirrors! sorry about your flood xx