I have a lot of interests and hobbies. One of them is making huge, elaborate, hand sewn button collages. I began making these in 1996 after being inspired by the stars I saw painted on barns in Pennsylvania.
My first button collage was a gift for my mom for Mother’s Day. I spent many, many hours (like, a million) working on it, and I presented it to her, thinking that she’d adore it. Her entire house is filled with “artsy finds” and I felt like this was the granddaddy of them all.
It was not her cup of tea. She hung up it up in the back bedroom that used to be my brothers’ room, and then after a few months told me that she felt bad keeping it after I’d spent so much time on it. And she gave it back to me. Ouch, Mom!
So I took it back, made it even better by adding some bits of old measuring tape and wire, and entered it into the UW Whitewater student art show. I was pretty sure they were going to close down the show and just feature my button collage. Everyone else had charcoal drawings of models from magazines and horses running along the beach. Honestly, I felt sorry for them.
Would you believe… They rejected it.
So I took it home and gave it to my art hoarder neighbor. I’m not being rude or exaggerating; his entire home and backyard were filled with his collections. I figured that even if my button collage got nibbled on by some mice or smooshed beneath a pile of plaster, at least it would be loved for a little while, until it was buried beneath new goodies.
His house has since been cleaned up and he’s long gone. I have a secret wish/fear that one day I will be watching Antiques Roadshow and my button collage will appear on there. They’ll either say it’s worth a million dollars or slightly less than the value of the buttons.
Where is this all heading?
Well, I recently recovered some of my other old button collages and decided to finish them up. They were sitting out in my living room and my friend Taya stopped by. She wanted one. I almost cried. I said “It’s all yours, Taya!” and I carried it out to her car for her. She promises she will paint the frame properly and put it on display. Finally, one of my button collages will see the light of day. Hallelujah!