I have a ton of buttons. Every time I cut up a piece of clothing I cut off the buttons. Some are beautiful or really unique, some are those small cloudy plastic ones that make a piece of clothing look cheap. I don’t distinguish, I keep them all. Not because I have a plan for them, but because it seems wrong to throw them away. In the all years I’ve been making art, I’ve used only a handful of buttons.
One of the reasons I’ve never used them is because I’ve seen them used so often and I’ve always had the idea to use them in an original way. But I’ve come to see that this kind of thinking is a curse. It stopped me from making art many times throughout my life. In the past it stopped me from doing much of the work I’m doing now.
But when it came to buttons I had a blind spot. Until today. I’ve used button here and there on a quilt or two, but never on the whole thing. I can only think the idea of not using buttons on a quilt is one of those old ideas that got stuck somewhere inside of me that no longer has any relevance in my life. But stuck it was. So today instead of trying to understand it or rationalize it or question it, I just started tacking buttons on my quilt.
In a way it’s an act of defiance, against my old way of thinking, against being stuck, against fear, against the strange rules I’ve made for myself that never served me.
And, you know, I just got tired of having all those buttons around. Tired of the rules I’ve made up for myself that seem so dire and serious “THOU SHALT NOT USE BUTTON ON YOUR QUILTS”. Maybe I’m ready to lighten it up a little more, have some more fun, move some of those buttons. Those tins of buttons get heavy after a while. Buttons were made to be seen and move around not sit in a tin getting green. I’m gonna set those buttons free, give them their life back and unstick what’s stuck inside of me.