Home / Art / Artist’s Took Kit: Buttons: How Buttons Are Used in Assemblage

Artist’s Took Kit: Buttons: How Buttons Are Used in Assemblage

What’s assemblage art? Let’s review:

[From Wikipedia] Assemblage is an artistic process in which a three-dimensional artistic composition is made from putting together found objects. Assemblage is the 3-dimensional cousin of collage.

How do use of buttons relate to assemblage art? Let’s explore:

Some view buttons as a collection used specifically for sewing projects. However, in the mixed media art world, there’s so much more to do with these little bits. Often considered a found object because they’re discarded in drawers, hidden in tins and lost under beds, these little treasures open the doors of creative opportunity for numerous projects. You can, however, buy them in craft stores and find them in mixed lots on ebay specifically for art projects. In the case of ebay, they’re considered ephemera and most often found as part of those types of lots.

What’s ephemera? Let’s review:

[From Wikipedia] Ephemera is transitory written and printed matter, not intended to be retained or preserved. The word derives from the Greek, meaning things lasting no more than a day. Some collectible ephemera are advertising trade cards, airsickness bags, baseball cards, bookmarks, cigarette cards, greeting cards, letters, photographs, postcards, posters, stock certificates, tickets, and zines.

As you can see, how some sellers and some artists define ephemera differs from the actual definition of the word. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, though. With some digging, you can find scrapbooking supply sellers and others selling buttons for crafts and other uses.

Some examples of using buttons in assemblage art pieces: (keep in mind, use of a strong adhesive is necessary before and after affixing them to the piece)

  1. embellish the corners or other areas of interest of an art journal cover, altered book cover or handmade book cover in random places
  2. create collages using buttons in random places with layers of other elements over and around them
  3. add buttons to mixed media paintings (if you’re working with a thick layer of acrylic paint, the buttons will affix right into the paint without adhesive)
  4. use buttons to embellish envelopes that have been affixed to the pages of art journals, scrapbook layouts, altered books and paintings
  5. make greeting cards, gift cards and post cards more interesting with button embellishments

These ideas simply scratch the surface in terms of use of buttons in mixed media art pieces. Don’t let the literal use of buttons stifle your creativity. By thinking outside the box, you’ll find yourself using (and trying to find more) buttons in your work more often than you imagined possible.