I often like to take the same motif and use it in various ways on the surfaces of the same beaded art quilts. Since most buttons are round, as that shape makes it easier to go though a buttonhole, I guess I have a special affinity for round shapes. The photos in this posting are all different ways that I treated the same black and white striped circle.
This first photo shows the full circle as it was cut from the fabric. I embellished the inner and outer parts of the circle with large shell rings and small black and white buttons. I also repeated black and white buttons in different sizes around this central motif. All of the stripes, when finished, were covered with black or white size 10 seed beads.
This next detail shot shows only part of the outer ring of the black and white circle, while in the lower right is an incompleted full circle. I used large 1″ (2.5cm) white buttons with black centers to break up the stripes in the half circle. Yellow embroidery floss fastened down those buttons and added a subtle color to pick up on the nearby yellow butterfly, flowers, and buttons. I like to think that I give a viewer a lot of subtle details to observe as you look closer and closer onto the surface of the art quilt. One compliment that I often get is that people say that they could look at them for hours and not see all of the details.
In this last detail shot, here is yet another way that I used the striped black and white fabric. In this part of the art quilt, I used white mother of pearl circles that can be bought in many craft stores. I fastened them down with about 8 stitches of yellow-green embroidery floss, and then filled the center of each circle with a small purple button. In the middle of the lower right is a blue and purple glass button from Czechoslovakia. They are being made these days with many modern materials, such as dichroic foil, but many of the mold are from the early 1900s. These buttons always elicit quite a response from viewers as they automatically reach out to touch them.
As a child, I was always drawn to buttons and beads. I would run my fingers through them as if I had a treasure chest from one of my story books. Later on, I began to learn about how different cultures view the symbol of the circle, such as rebirth, unity, and centering. When I’m working with my buttons and beads, I’m rarely trying to make a statement with the specific shapes, but just drop into a state of being and play with the materials. They bring me a great deal of pleasure, and I hope my delight in the materials is conveyed to you, the viewer.
What shape(s) are you drawn to repeat in your artistic medium? Do you have an idea why you like to use them, or do you just feel that they’re what’s called for in the composition?
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