Saturday, September 14, 2013

Button Mania

Last week I was invited by a friend to come see a private exhibit of "button art." I have to admit that I wasn't immediately overexcited about the idea of spending an afternoon observing buttons...but I was pleasantly surprised.

Upon arrival in the exhibit hall -- a large room on the second floor of an elegant hotel -- I saw rows upon rows of framed buttons. 

The artist, "Sabrina," from Shanghai, had started out years earlier working on qipao's, the traditional Chinese dresses, but over time had gotten more involved with the design of the buttons on the qipao. These are tiny little buttons, consisting of a little dot and a tiny hole--all made out of fabric. 

The buttons then took on a life of their own, and over the last fifteen years she has been creating an incredible amount of beautifully designed buttons. The buttons are all made of silk and are little depictions of Chinese or western objects, animals, flowers, plants, or even buildings. I know they are still buttons, but the colors, patterns, and art work were really quite amazing.

I don't think the pictures below really do them justice. :-)

The artist (on the left) and three happy visitors.

The exhibit area: Button mania!

Flower button

More flower buttons.

It all started with qipao's. (I wonder what the embroidered silk phoenix is thinking about.)

Shanghai's famous zigzag bridge in Yu Garden, now all in silk.

The same bridge.

Cute birdie button.

Bamboo buttons

I don't think you can buy this outfit at Walmart.

Don't try this at home. Quite a few hours went into the design and embroidery of this dress.

Building button.

More building buttons and mask button. (The dude on the right kind of looks like a "button della verita.")

Outfit button.

Warrior and vase buttons.

More vase buttons.

Cute animal buttons. (I took a picture of the Tigers because--born in 1974--my Chinese sign is Tiger.)

Black and white animal button.

More outfits.

Last but not least, the sign for "fu" or happiness. You can see the character written by a famous (though to me unknown) artist, with the embroidered version of it below.

In het Nederlands: Ik was laatst uitgenodigd om een kijkje te nemen bij een prive tentoonstelling van...knopen! Het begon allemaal met de vrij eenvoudige knoopjes die op een Chinese qipao jurk zitten. De artieste maakte honderden varianten op dat eeuwenoude concept.

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