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A Field Guide to the Button Kingdom


A Field Guide to the Button Kingdom


“Let’s recognize the unity in diversity and the one(ness) in the many.” —Lama Surya Das

“A Field Guide to the Button Kingdom" is a loose interpretation of the Quaker beliefs and ideals of American folk painter Edward Hicks as seen in his painting “The Peaceable Kingdom." Hicks began his career as a distinguished religious minister but ultimately chose to express his beliefs through his paintings. The Inner Light doctrine as preached by the Quakers, is depicted in Hicks’ paintings as a breaking down of physical barriers so that everyone can live and work together in peace and harmony. In other words, Hicks believed that there was no difference between all species of animals, humans included. I interpret this belief as oneness and interconnection as seen in Buddhism and Taoism. After recently inheriting my mother’s vintage button collection, I immediately noticed the variety of buttons, each with their differing color, size, shape, material, texture, and decoration. However, all of the buttons were kept together in one tin container. As an avid birdwatcher, I regularly use a field guide to help identify different species of birds all of which appear in one book. Therefore, “A Field Guide to the Button Kingdom” fuses the idea of oneness and diversity while providing the viewer with a contemplative experience focused on paying close attention to the details of each button. The composition of all 484 buttons was determined by a random number generator, and each button was presented equally within the center of a 1” square grid.


Materials: wood, thread, cross-stitch material, vintage buttons, acrylic
Dimensions: 26”x26”x2”
Edition: original, one-of-a-kind artwork
Installation: ready-to-hang wire