Welcome to MissouriBendStudio!

This is an online journal of my artistic investigations and a way to communicate about my work, ideas, quandries and queries! I welcome comments and conversation and do hope you enjoy these musings. My artwork is available in my shop MissouriBendStudio on Etsy.com or on my website.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Paper Transformation!

I had a lovely surprise yesterday in the studio as I busied myself with a new book page.  Thought I'd shake things up a bit and work with some different paper (and let go of the teabags temporarily, shock!), so I happened to glance over at a pile of this and that on the shelf and spotted this beautiful, soft pale salmon-pink (can't come up with a better color description even though that one isn't on the mark) and tore it down to a reasonable size.  

I wanted to make a book about buttons and thought perhaps the paper might need to be sturdier....in which case, I always turn to the beeswax.  So I turned my electric wok on warm and began to melt the beeswax, imagining how it would deepen and enrich the pinky orange of the paper.  I started rummaging through my big old jar of mostly vintage buttons, dumping a good number of them out on the desk, only to find an amazing array of marbles also....rolling hither and yon all over creation!  Anyway, thought I'd play with some red buttons and began sorting.  However, as you can see, when the paper was dipped in the beeswax, it turned an AMAZINGly rich brown, looking much more like leather than paper.  Oh My!!!  Those red buttons went straight back in the jar and all sorts of delicious brown and tan buttons made it to the "in" pile.  Sorry reds...next time!  Below you can see the amazing difference in color and texture...sort of...in the glare of the lights in the studio.

So here's the page from The Collector's Album of Buttons Never Found.

And so you'll know how it came to be, here's the way I described it in my listing:

What if you chanced upon a page of vintage buttons, all laid out on a double page spread, neatly labeled with a date from a history within memory...what would you think, where would it take you, and where would such a thing have come from? I think it must be a page from The Collector's Album of Buttons Never Found. Perhaps someone had carefully cataloged all the buttons they'd come across, the ones that had dropped off the sweater, the dress, the coat, the ones that were found in a particular place at a particular time, worn by someone who, at some point, looked down in dismay at the place where that button had been. Or this. Maybe the lost buttons gathered themselves together, organized themselves into a book and logged the date they'd gone missing, in the vain hope that the garment's owner would know where to find them....or perhaps...

There's so much to say that can't be said....about loss and longing, and about these objects that follow us through our lives, that become part of our history, markers of memory and that may even have lives of their own. This little page is an echo of an artist's book I made many years ago, which I will show you next time...each button tells a story.  

Hoping you all have a fine weekend!  This afternoon Johntimothy and I will head up to the big city of Sioux Falls (mild joke, all things being relative!) which is an hour away.  A former student has an opening and we'll do a little shopping for things we can't get here and best of all...dinner out!!!


  1. Oooo - dinner out! Lucky you. I love this idea that all the lost buttons organized themselves into a catalog for easy future reunions with their original garments/owners! Maybe that's what happens to the odd buttons I could have sworn I had stored safely away in various jars and bags and then when I need some just like that, they are nowhere to be found! Lovely piece, P.

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  3. G., I'll check other pages of the catalog to see if your buttons are there!
    Had a nice day out and a fantastic meal--middle eastern, which is one of our favorite spots in Sioux Falls!

  4. Hi Patti - love this piece and love G's thoughts about a home for bewildered and roaming buttons...

  5. Thank you Fiona. Yes, the home for bewildered and roaming buttons is a lovely thought!


I'm happy to hear from you...comments and questions are welcome!