Artist Karen Hurley uses buttons for more than simply fastening a coat. The designer recognizes their creative potential, featuring the multi-sized and varicolored fasteners as her medium of choice. With her keen eye for color and composition, the Auckland, New Zealand-based artist has constructed some incredibly charming creations that are almost sculptural forms of pointillism. Each of her pieces crowd buttons of all shapes and sizes, mixing all different tones together, resulting in a feast for the eyes.
As an avid button collector who even made it her mission to wear a button around her neck everyday for the last 6 years, Hurley tells us: “My passion for collecting buttons flourished when my great grandmother became too old to sew and I was given her odds and ends from her sewing kit about 8 years ago. I had always been fond of buttons before then, being called cute as a button from a young age due to my petiteness. It fascinates me how something so small and simple can be so varied and intricately designed. I have always found interest in the small details of designs and this was another avenue to explore. To date, I own approximately 4,000 buttons from different eras that use different materials and are created in a variety of colours and textures.”
The artist was kind enough to share some of her impressive stock of jars filled with buttons with us, letting us know that the images actually represent only 75% of her collection. It leaves us wondering about the endless possibilities for more button creations, though the artist admits that she is especially passionate about graphic design and currently looking for the perfect position to hone and develop her skills.
Nonetheless, Hurley tells us, “My graphic design background lead me to begin to experiment with using buttons as an art form. I started with small projects such as simple linear rainbows stuck on my bedroom wall and gradually learnt the way the buttons could be manipulated; almost as a form of pixel art. Presently, I use the creation of my button art works as a form of relaxation; there is something therapeutic about laying them all out.”