Lourdes Taylor: Button wire project
Unlike most of the projects we’ve done in sculpture thus far, I had a clear idea of what I was going to sculpt the minute I learned what the assignment was. We were told to demonstrate a significant scale shift of an item that would usually fit in your hand. At first, this task seemed to be right up my alley. I like to play with how big and how small things can generally be in my own chosen art form (dance), so I thought this project would be a fun but fairly non-complex project. How wrong I was.
My idea was simple, to create a large wire button. Apparently, when I was a baby, I used to sit on my dad’s lap facing him and play with the buttons on his court shirts. Thus, rather than you might expect, my first word was not “mama” or “Dada”, but rather “Dutton”, (because I couldn’t pronounce the “b” sound). I thought that a button was a commonplace and interesting object that would work well and be relatively low-maintenance to construct, but it proved to be much harder than I expected. I wanted to use very thick wire to build the framework of the project, the outer circles of the button.
It proved extremely resistant to any sort of molding, and so I resorted to a number of things to get it to hold the form I wanted it to: manipulating it with clamps and pliers, standing on top of it, wrapping around a water jug, even beating it tirelessly with a hammer. Finally, with the help of Ms. Kerrigan, The outer framework held, and my button was on its way. The struggle, however, was just beginning. I used a much more flexible silver wire for the inner circles, having learned my lesson, but faced an entirely new challenge.
Because the wire was so flexible, it gave in too much. Once I shaped them into the appropriate shape, it was unlikely that they would hold once I started binding them together (I bound two rings together to create each of the four button holes, and then bound each set of rings together) and they would morph if I put too much strain on them with the thin silver wire. It was like using thread to bind rubber bands together. I tediously tied the holes to each other as well as to the framework of the button, and then repeated the process on the other side, as shown to the left. (This is also one of my favorite shots).
I then created a cross-hash decorative style on both sides, which served doubly to reinforce the wires that were already in place to hold the holes in their spots. I enjoyed the project a lot, and I gained a great deal of respect of anyone who works with wire for a living. The sentimental value of the piece was worth its extra work, though I don’t think I’ll be putting my hands on wire again anytime soon. The shot to the left serves to demonstrate what it would be like if someone (perhaps a giant) were threading the button.