Friday, 25 November 2011


I drafted this post a while ago, and was waiting before posting it so that the recipient of the object it features (Desi, my giveaway winner) would receive it beforehand and the surprise wouldn't be spoiled. 
Unfortunately the parcel never reached it's destination, which is very sad because there were a number of one-off items in it and it can't be reproduced. Desi has a lovely attitude and invited me to imagine someone else enjoying the contents. (Of course I'm going to send off another little parcel, however...!) And I'm glad that there is at least a photo of one of the gifts she should have received...

I thought I'd share something about my process for making personalised collage badges (pinback buttons). I recently had the opportunity to make one for Desi who won it in my giveaway last month. I love working to a brief. She asked for the word ART on the badge, with the colours blue and yellow.
The first thing I do is get out all my magazines (vintage and contemporary) and bits and pieces of paper ephemera for inspiration. I wanted there to be art "hidden" in the design of this badge as well as more obviously in the text. I found this gorgeous glowing blue in a magazine image of a painting by Leonardo da Vinci - perfect for the background. So I got out my circle cutter.
I knew this old Vermeer calendar would have some lovely yellows. I thought I'd use some painted yellow as a background for the text.
This curtain, radiant with the light coming through the window looked ideal. For cutting I use small sewing scissors which I only use for paper.
I decided to decorate the badge with a flower from some of my Japanese chiyogami paper. I aim only to use recycled paper in these badges but sometimes new materials just seem to work (I love everything Japanese as you may have noticed by now!) I also might use a printed digital image if there's a specific requirement that can't be found easily.
Once I've laid out the pieces I need to check it all fits within the cutting guidelines. The middle circle is the size of the final badge.
Then I get to work on the text. I like to cut out different coloured and shaped letters, a bit like in those anonymous letters you see in cheesy murder mysteries! I really like the poster-like, collaged effect it gives.
I love to use vintage magazines and newspapers with their pretty, old-fashioned typefaces (I like to use the images too). I sometimes get distracted by the content...
Check out this ad for soap: a women's role was so well-defined back in the 1950s! The pathway was all mapped out: a women went from her parents to her husband and then her job was to look after him and the home. I love the fact that women can choose other options (as well) these days. But I reckon we'll look back on ads of today and realise they were often quite oppressive to women too...
The hardest thing is finding letters that go together in terms of size, shape and colour. I am very particular about this. It can take a long time to find the perfect letters, with a combination of white and coloured backgrounds, the right combination of fonts, the right size and angle... I lay them out to check how they'll look. This badge wasn't too hard as there were only 3 letters.
Then it's time to glue it all down! I love this glue because it dries clear and is nice and clean to use. I was using quite large shapes for this piece but when I have small shapes I sometimes need to use tweezers to position them.
Ah, my lovely badge-making machine! It was a birthday present from my dad a few years ago. It's seen a LOT of use already! Almost everyone I know has one of my badges ;)
And voilà, the finished product! What a shame that Desi may never receive it. Inspired by her attitude, however, I will imagine that wherever the parcel ended-up, somebody, somewhere may be carrying ART around with them.


Diana said...

I really like your blog, I'm a new follower <3

Maša said...

what a beautiful badge! I hope it gets found ... thanks for sharing the process with us, I was actually curious how it is done. :)

Unknown said...

Thanks! <3

Lauren Hairston said...

My worst nightmare! I hate it when things get lost in the mail! :-(

I love old magazines so much (the typefaces are really great). I hope your lovely badge is recovered.

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