The Button Project – a stunning exhibition of over 300 contemporary handmade buttons – is taking shape, as buttons start to arrive from all over the world. From Australia to Norway, and all over the UK, artists and makers are translating their work into buttons for this exciting new event.
Artists were asked to work within the constraints of traditional button sizes and fixing methods, but from there, their imagination was free to roam. Each button is a miniature work of art in its own right and highly collectible.
My button entry is based on the Burns’ Silk Moth [Hemileuca burnsi] and I have attempted reverse metamorphosis in that my moth’s wings are made from fine silk thread stitched onto Chinese silk and a transition from traditional to modern craft.
My aim was to create a piece that wouldn’t look out of place in an entomologist’s collection. The back of the wings are painted pale cream to help the silk ‘veins’ stand out and the antennae are made from individual spines from a Blackbird’s feather. The modern twist is that the body is created from polymer clay and the entire moth encased in resin. The silver pin pierces the body and is used to create the button shank.
This button is completely different to the ones I usually make every day and I have really enjoyed the challenge and I hope you enjoy looking at my creation.
The Button Project is intended to serve as a celebration of the heritage of the area, which began with the silk button. The dynamic buttons come from craft practitioners and artists at the top of their field, plus our rising stars and many who make just for the love of it. They will be showcased effortlessly alongside the silk costume collection at Macclesfield’s Heritage Centre from June 14 to August 8 2013. Plus there will be related displays at the nearby Silk Museum showing treasures of the behind-the scenes button collections, and a lively button-making workshop for kids.
The museum curator, Annabel Wills, says
“It has been wonderful to see how our contemporary makers have responded to the historic collections at Macclesfield. A real feast of talent and inventiveness.”
From precious metals and traditional silk buttons, to glass, felt, enamels and recycled materials; the creativity from makers has been diverse and eye-catching, with The Button Project’s youngest contributor being just 11 years old. The project will be launched at, and will form part of the programme for, the Barnaby Festival, Macclesfield’s summer festival of contemporary arts, culture and fun, taking place in June. Both look set to be events not to be missed.
The Button Project: Macclesfield Heritage Centre Roe Street, Macclesfield SK11 6UT June 15 to August 82013. Preview June 14 6-9pm.
Additional displays and events: The Silk Museum, Park Lane, Macclesfield, SK11 6TJ
Macclesfield Barnaby Festival is a Festival of contemporary arts, culture and fun, celebrating the town’s rich heritage. A recent reinvention of the centuries old tradition of celebrating the feast day of St Barnabas, it’s held every June in the town centre.
The four sites that make up Macclesfield Museums – the Heritage Centre, the Silk Museum, Paradise Mill and West Park Museum – are an acknowledged treasure, showcasing all aspects of silk use and production plus other aspects of local and international history.
For Macclesfield, silk buttons are where it all began. This cottage-based business flourished into major industry and shaped the town into what it is today. Macclesfield Museums, which recently have been designated the official western end of the Silk Road by the United Nations World Tourist Organisation Silk Road Project, present all aspects of silk use and production including fine examples of the local Macclesfield silk button as well as a nationally important collection of silk clothing, fashion and accessories from throughout the town’s silk-making history.