Monday, July 21, 2014

A Colorful Button Flash!!

Not too long ago, I popped on Button Floozies to write about Flash Fiction, Button Style.  This is an interactive feature on my website where readers email me a picture of a button and I write that button's story. In keeping with the Flash Fiction genre, I limit the story to 250 words.  To prevent me from spending way too much time on it, I also limit myself to one hour.

It's fun to see what emerges from these limitations.

Today I'm excited to share my latest Button Flash.  It features a determinedly colorful button set in an even more colorful background.  This picture immediately reminded me of a carnival and I decided the button belonged to a seamstress for a troupe of aerialists.

Here's a picture of the button, which was sent in by Buttons By McAnaraks.  If you'd like to read the story please click here!


Monday, July 14, 2014

Button detail on a vintage outfit

 I snapped photos of this wonderful vintage costume at a friend's sale last month.
(It is covered in plastic because it was sprinkling that day!)
 Kathy always finds the best stuff.  This costume is, she thought, was used by a Masonic group and was a reproduction of a colonial era man's suit...
complete with hat -- and powdered wig!
I wanted to show you the detail, with lace, gimp and buttons!
Fancy pants!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

French boutons

Look at the buttons I bought in Kansas last month.
This time, it was the box -- not the buttons themselves -- that made my heart go pitter-patter!

Monday, June 30, 2014

My Adventures with a Button Club . . . .

Since I've written a novel entitled The Button Collector, at some point I figured out that it wouldn't be such a bad idea for me to learn a little bit about button collecting.  This became especially apparent when people started contacting me with their button collecting questions!

At first I did some research through books and the internet, but eventually I was invited to a real live meeting of a real live button club.  Woo Hoo!  Of course, I went.

The particular meeting I attended was with the Western North Carolina Button Club. It started with our hostess wowing us with her collection of 19th-Century Mandarin hat buttons, but I was also quite impressed by many other buttons the members passed around--the Victorian button nails used to hang pictures, the mourning buttons made of hair, the smugglers' buttons  . . . and many more I can't remember.

Mandarin hat buttons

I also learned about the state and national competitions the club members had entered over the years and just how serious real collectors are about the historic, material and artistic aspects of buttons.   

Competition card of buttons depicting couples in various styles and materials


It wasn't all seriousness, however. There were plenty of folks at the meeting who just enjoyed buttons and collected them for fun and whimsy or to include in various crafts or artwork.   

If by chance you haven't been to a button club meeting but you've always wondered what one might be like, you can read more about my experience here, but I recommend going to a meeting yourself!  If you're looking for a group, the National Button Society has a listing of local clubs . . . and there's always Google.

And to all the readers out there already in clubs .  . . thanks for preserving these "little works of art and history."  I'm not capable of organizing the sock drawer, so I take my hat off to you!    



Monday, June 23, 2014

SUMMER BUTTON SHARING

Here it is the end of June already! Summer just started. 
I was cleaning my art studio. When I came across a big tin of buttons. 
I took the lid off the tin and spent a half hour looking 
at what was inside. While looking at these buttons, 
I decided which ones to share. 
Here are my picks for you on this warm summer 
evening in June:

A Vintage Carved Heavy Plastic Coat Button (Bakelite?)

All the summer picks

 A Close-up of the button picks

 A Close-up of the button picks

Vintage Patent Numbered on back of 2 of the large molded buttons

 A vintage blue-gray thin celluloid button

 A vintage butterscotch celluloid covered metal button

 Three large plastic pearly flat buttons

Four plastic textured faux copper buttons

June is almost over....so, some evening pull out your tin of buttons and share them with others. 
Happy Summer Button Floozies!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Tiny button box

Look at the fun that arrived in my mailbox last week:
These were a gift from my niece -- look how she addressed the package!
My favorites from the bunch.
I love it that when people I love see buttons, they think of me!
Happy June to you!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

ARTFUL BUTTONS

I chose buttons from my collection that would complement an Abstract Painting used as a background. The art is by me, Sue Marrazzo, artist, and button collector. I really wanted to show-off the buttons and make them the "STAR." In shooting photos for this post...I realized how each button is like ART. Each has a style, design, color, shape, and is composed of different materials. I am featuring: wooden, metal, resin, acrylic and glass buttons. 
Take a look at these ARTFUL BUTTONS...










The button collection shown 
with art by Sue Marrazzo, ISAP, NCS.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Soft, white, pearl

I'm at it again -- creating with buttons -- and this time enjoying the soft look of mother-of-pearl and shell buttons in vintage glass.
Have you ever altered a bottle?  I just finished my first one: it's for a Bird Song 4 swap.  It's a raffle drawing-style swap so who ends up with it is anyone's guess!
I decided to stick with a low-color palette this time and it was an adventure from start to finish.
First I had to find an old bottle.  Bottles are not something (believe it or not) I collect, so finding just the right one was a challenge.  I finally found a true vintage one at a street market a few weeks ago.
I chose this one because if has a rather flat front that I knew would take well to altering, as well as some interest in the ribbing on the reverse, above.
The hardest part for me was figuring out a stopper or cork for the bottle.  I actually bought some glass bottle stoppers online from an Etsy vintage seller but neither fit in the bottle I'd found.  Since I was pretty attached to the bottle, plan B was to make my own.
I fashioned the bird's nest from silver 'angel hair' that I glued to the top of a cork.
Then, I hand sewed some eyelash yarn through the nest to give it some nest-like texture.
The sweet bird on top was part of a raffle gift I won from one of Karla's past events.
I love the thought of it returning to roost at another one.
The blingy gimp style velvet fabric around the bottle's neck is also something I got at a past Birdsong, from vendor night.  Below the neck, I added a beautiful old piece of costume jewelry that looks like rhinestones, and some of my favorite tatted lace.
The bird image I used was a free download from my ueber-talented blogging friend, Violahere's a link to the actual download at her blog.  As you can see, I lighted it up considerably by dry brushing white paint over it and then using different pens to add shadow and outline.
I used some of my favorite vintage white pieces to embellish the area above the egg: spun cotton, beaded wire, etc.
Finally, I tied some vintage baubles around the neck for balance: an old key, some beads and buttons, old lace threaded through a pearl, and a wooden feather.
How gorgeous is that old metal button?
Here's hoping you are inspired and ready to play with your buttons, too!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Button Flash!

Have you ever picked up a button and wondered who it used to belong to?  Or where it has been?  Or how it came to be in the place you found it?  

That's the idea behind an interactive project I call Flash Fiction, Button Style.  People send me a picture of a button, and I write a flash fiction story about the button and the person who once wore it. 

Flash fiction is a relatively new genre of writing that emphasizes brevity.  I like to think of it as a bridge between poetry and fiction--every word is chosen carefully, the overall rhythm has heightened importance, and the final sense of the writing carries more weight than its individual components. 

For Flash Fiction, Button Style, each story is 250 words or less.  To accentuate the genre's penchant for suddenness and spontaneity, I also limit the time spent on each story to one hour or less.  While the pieces may lack perfection and polish, I hope their immediacy gives them freshness and intimacy. 

I'm copying one of my favorite Button Flashes below.  It's a fun little beach romance to celebrate the upcoming summer.  Thanks to reader Lorelei M. for the sweet button picture.









A SUMMER THING


"I don't understand." 

This was why she didn’t say good-bye.  How had she forgotten? 

She rubbed her hand against the stubble on his cheek, noticed how the moonlight formed a halo around his curly hair. 

“I have to go back,” she whispered.  “It was a summer thing--fun, pure.  That’s how I’ll remember it.” 

“But the things we did, the things we felt—I’ve never . . . . ”     His voice broke. 

She was glad she couldn’t see his face.  She leaned into his warmth, felt his breath on her ear—the air pulsing out from his lungs, a dangerous weakness of hers.  She bit her lip.

“You’re so beautiful,” she whispered.  “Like this moment--a beautiful last gift.” 

“I’ll go with you . . . .” 

She kissed his mouth, felt a tingle as the breeze sent fingers through her gauzy pink blouse.  For a moment she wavered, pulled by a strange current, a hypnotizing force. 

But then she turned toward the distant moonlit whitecaps.  “You have to walk away,” she said in a voice she knew he couldn’t refuse.  “Don’t look back.” 

His face struggled but he turned and slowly disappeared down the beach. 

She slipped off her white shorts, pulled off her blouse roughly, tearing fabric, popping buttons. 

Clothes were something she would not miss. 

She stepped into the surf, feeling the saltwater reclaim her.  When she was waist deep, she dove under, scales flapping, his face a pleasant dream drifting among the last bubbles.

~~

Do you have a button with a story waiting to be told?  Email an image of it to ej@elizabethjennings.com and I'll do the rest.  More details can be found here

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Clear Glass Buttons

I spent all week at Brimfield and saw some fabulous buttons!!
I bought the ones on the lower right.  The mother of pearl.  
The others are just a part of the clear glass buttons that I have collected.  I do not yet know why I am drawn to clear glass buttons but I am sure one day I will have an awakening and know exactly want to do with them!! 







They are hard to use as they don't show up very well on a quilt.  Any ideas???

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Gift of Love

This is a a one-of-a-kind collage ornament created with found collage papers, lace, glitter and BUTTONS! The final touch to this ornament was the cluster of 3 vintage buttons. The gray button even has the thread still attached. Take a look at one of my handmade ornaments...



Ornament: A Gift of Love
Medium: Collage with buttons
Artist: Sue Marrazzo, ISAP, NCS

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

WHAT'S INSIDE THE SINGER BUTTON TIN?

I found this SINGER button tin at a yard sale here in Pennsylvania. It was full to the top with assorted buttons. It is now 2/3 full...Thanks to my Creative Collage ART Students. I love to share finds like this with others who are like minded. In this ART class we use collage papers and found objects...and YES that includes BUTTONS! 
Take a look at WHAT'S INSIDE THE SINGER BUTTON TIN...

 The Vintage Singer Tin by Bristol Ware

 Inside the button tin

 The Chosen Ones

 Plastic Molded Floral Buttons

 All Colors, and some with threads

 Plastic Jet Black Faceted with gold trim

 A delicate OLDIE metal floral and others

 A Floral Mother of Pearl Inlay and others

My TOP 4 Picks!
What are Yours?
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