Saturday, July 31, 2010

Studio Saturday with Shannon LeVart

 Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments!     As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.
  This weeks winner is Alice with The Bliss Guild! Congratulations! 
You have won a LUV2TRVL button from the studio of Tari Sasser with Creative Impressions in Clay
Send Tari an e-mail with your address and she will get that super fun button shipped out to you.

 This week we visit the studio of Shannon LeVart at

I'm making buttons. 
Fine silver buttons that look ancient, as if they were dug up from an archeological dig or tumbled through the sea.
  I love antiqued metal; the subtle shine, the durability, the "go with anything" aspect of it. While I was wishing to be working with copper or bronze clay, I already had a pack of fine silver precious metal clay unopened for months that I settled for. Using molds that I had made by hand, I began pressing small balls of pmc into each one, delighting in a deeply textured patty of fine silver clay. I was tired of making pendants and buttons have such versatile uses so I created simple shanks with 19 gauge wire and pressed them into the backs of the molded clay. Dried, sanded, fired and tumbled; these buttons turned out beautiful!

As soon as I had the chance, I designed several pieces with them. A wrap bracelet created from sari silk and a hand forged sterling clasp features the Shiva button;

And the Sea Urchin button created a rustic bracelet being used in conjunction with patina-ted brass chain and brown suede;

 And the Wild Horse button acts as the clasp and the focal in this simple leather choker;

 So how do you use buttons in your hand crafted jewelry?

Leave a comment below sharing your button technique and next Saturday one of our editors will draw a number. You could win this fine silver shell button!

Thank you for visiting us here at Art Bead Scene!
Much Love & Respect,


Mermaid Glass said...

These are beautiful! I'm not a jewelry designer, but I love buttons and now I've been inspired. I'm going to go find my grandma's button jar (mine now)and pull out some of her anitque and unique buttons collected over the years and see what I can come up with.
Thanks for the inspiration!

Barbara Lewis said...

Shannon, These are great! It's amazing when you have a beautiful focal point, not much else is needed!

Mary Harding said...

I make some handmade clay buttons to use for clasps on my free form peyote stitch bracelets. I also use them as gifts to my friends that are weavers or quilters. Your buttons are simply gorgeous. You have such a feel for the metal and the image and how they can go together.

Unknown said...

Really beautiful buttons Shannon!! In Love with the Necklace how beautiful!! I love to use buttons in jewellery 3 buttons sandwiched together for a different look here and there.

Spirited Earth said...

your sea urchin bracelet is all of these..
this has given me a new way to think about using buttons in jewelry...thanks for sharing

Alice said...

Shannon, your PMC buttons are wonderful! That sea urchin bracelet has to be my favorite!

I'm intrigued by the fact that you make your own molds. I've seen that more and more around the beading world, but it still facinates me.

I've used buttons with two holes in my work, but mostly as connectors. I've never used a button with a shank, as I've never been quite sure how to use them. But now I do! Thanks for the inspiration!


Malin de Koning said...

Shannon - did you hear me groaning when I was looking at your pictures?

I just recently started using buttons. I simply string them on a cord, or on a wire along with other beads, or I use them as a clasp.

I have seen Lorelei stacking them together with rondelle beads. Which I think look really good, so I will try that too.

Your buttons are so so so nice! I love the antique feel.

WireMySoul said...

Those are beautiful! I would love to use more buttons in my jewelry. I've only used them once: I stacked plastic buttons in shades of blue, teal and green in little stacks strung on sterling wire links for a funky bracelet and earrings set.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful buttons! I've used buttons as clasps on bracelets, and once I used an antique steel cut button as the focal point of a y-necklace.


TesoriTrovati said...

Miss Shannon, have I ever told you that you complete me? Your patinas and eye for detail astound me. If I could I would have one of everything please. I love using buttons. Have used them from the very first wedding that I did where every bridesmaid had an antique button for a clasp. I love the versatility of buttons. And the way you combine them with the leather just fascinates me. That one with the horse is so special. I would never think of something so simple being so stunning, but you know how to work it, girl!

Thanks so much for sharing insights into your creative process. Fascinating stuff!
Enjoy the day!

abeadlady said...

Those are lovely, Shannon. I have often used buttons to close a bracelet, but lately, I have been using them as focals in my bead embroidery.


Eve said...

I keep old buttons that belonged to my Mom, but I've never used any in a jewelry project!

Shannon, these buttons are OUTSTANDING!! I can totally see you supplying these all over the world :D

Erin Strother said...

I've actually never used buttons. But I'd love to give it a try with your beautiful silver shell!
Erin S

GailW. said...

Your buttons are beautiful!I'd love to have some.My mom gave me a jar of olc buttons that dated from when I was born-lot a buttons!Some are awesome,some are so ugly you have to wonder about my mom.I've used some in bracelets,that's easy.But none as a pendant.I might try,again.

Unknown said...

Oh they are great! I use buttons for closures on purses! First make a nice bracelet or earrings out of beads and polymer and place it in a purse and you have a wonderful two/piece present!

Eileen The Artful Crafter said...

Oh my, buttons can be used in so many projects. I've used them on:

Hybrid cards and scrapbook pages;
Button bracelets and earrings;
Decorations for tote bags; and
Boxes as closures.

Off the Beadin' Path said...

That process sounds like a lot of fun, especially with your own molds! Beautiful results, especially the Sea Urchin bracelet and the Wild Horse. I hope you make a lot of those :) I like the way you used the buttons and the other uses in the comments. So far I just pour out my Grandmother's button jar and play, but one of these days I could braid some buttons onto part of a necklace or bracelet, using narrow cords or heavier threads of some kind. Thanks for the inspiration!

Elizabeth said...

Buttons as clasps are my favorite go to. They just seem logical in that use.

Lovely choker, Shannon.

sandi m said...

These are wonderful - love the fine silver. The detail really shines through on your simple designs.
I've used antique buttons with wire a la Wendy Wichner.
Love the shell button.
Thanks for sharing!


Marcie Abney Carroll said...

Ya' know, I haven't really had the chance to use a lot of buttons, but there is a couple who sells their clay buttons, the Muddy Muse, at a local fair here every year, I always buy a handful and use them as clasps in simple peyote stitched bracelets, they're beautiful and really set off the design.

Dana said...

I like to collect vintage buttons and these days they sit and look pretty on my work table but I have used them in the past as clasps and in rings. Yours turned out great. I never thought about making buttons out of my PMC but may have to give it a try.

Pretty Things said...

I love that necklace!!!

Created By You said...

These buttons are beautiful, thanks for the inspiration, love the necklace!

SueBeads said...

I definitely like art buttons as clasps, but I like them as accents too!

Ann said...

I like to use buttons as clasps, as well. But I also use buttons as charms, especially the shank buttons. I like to use larger buttons as connectors.

these buttons are fantastic! Thanks for sharing.


Cheryl K Roe said...

I love buttons as clasps. My favorite lampwork pieces are buttons. Great designs.

Paris said...

I absolutely love vintage buttons. I have been collecting buttons for a while now in op shops and school fetes.

I make stud earrings and rings, plus I use a special technique and join little buttons together making it resemble a pearl necklace
I love all your designs Shannon. You have given me more inspiration.

My email is
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