Friday, May 11, 2012


The reason this blog is called Paper Buttons is that a very long time ago I used to make (and sell) tiny little cut-paper collages of animals that I pressed into wearable buttons with my hand-held Badge-A-Minit button maker.

It was a silly little hobby that just happened to coincide with the launching of a brand-new site called Etsy, perhaps you've heard of it? In fact, and now I don't mean to be all I-liked-it before-it-was-cool or anything, but I ended being one of their first members. #HUMBLEBRAG

I think I sold a total of eleven buttons.

(I like to think this may have been because I had to dip out of the burgeoning Handmade Button business and move sort of abruptly to Zurich, Switzerland, but that's a story for another day.)

Anyway, MY POINT is that I happen to think that paper art is basically the highest form of art, and to that end I am going to show you some really cool stuff.

Exhibit A)

Artist Chris Gilmour makes these incredible life-size cardboard sculptures, like this Fiat and this super-detailed bicycle and this set of globes that I would just DIE to have in either my living room or my "study."

Find plenty more of his cardboard brilliance here.

Exhibit B)

Do you know about quilling? It's this crazy and time consuming process of curling hundreds of tiny strips of paper and Lisa Nilsson (unfortunately no relation) makes these slightly creepy yet ultimately badass anatomical cross sections with it, like this:

and this:

Wowie, right? Check out more of her intricate work here.

And how about Exhibit C) my ultimate favorite, basically the godmother of paper cutting: Mary Delany (that's Mrs. Delany to you.) 

She was an 18th century paper rockstar who at age 72 began messing around with cut-out flowers, and then went on to create over 1,000 of these exquisitely detailed botanical collages. 

I mean take a look at these and tell me they are not paintings...


Bananas, right? And this was in the 1770s, when scissors were really big and unwieldy, and Paper Source hadn't even been invented yet. The mind boggles.

My mom bought me this book last year which I highly, highly recommend. Mrs Delany was charming and sassy, and had an incredible life beyond her paper-stardom. Do yourself a favor and check her out.

And, you know, if you ever wanna buy a tiny paper animal collage in wearable button form, you know who to call.


  1. Very cool stuff! The quilled body sections look just like the real ones I saw at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry a while back.

    I think if you restarted the button business on Etsy you would do well. A friend of mine sells buttons she designs on Etsy and it's a going concern. I guess it's a matter of finding the right audience. You definitely have a great aesthetic!

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