Friday, August 26, 2016

Artisan Interview with Katie Scalmato at THE BUTTON BIRD Etsy Shop

My Guest today is Katie Scalmato, the Artisan who designs and creates the lovely items at The Button Bird Shop on Etsy.

Katie, can you start by giving us a short description of your Shop?

...Good Morning, Lynda. Thanks for hosting me today at Between The Pages.

The Button Bird shop on Etsy features vintage inspired jewelry made by Katie Scalmato. Items are created using salvaged vintage materials and semi precious gemstones. 

What else should we know about you and your work?
There is beauty in our everyday lives and even the most mundane items hold our stories, secrets, dreams… Every button, bead and photograph has traveled far to find me and I can only guess at where they’ve been, and to whom they once belonged. My collection of jewelry celebrates the past, while adding to these stories.

I love the simplicity of buttons and have always been attracted to small, shiny objects and their histories. My shop name is a play on words based on the bowerbird,
which also loves to collect pretty things and arrange them in artful ways. My office is a hodge-podge of beautiful, highly organized chaos. I keep everything neatly labeled in clear plastic containers and cases, but it’s easy to get out of control once the sorting and building process begins. There are so many options with such inspiring materials!

I began creating art and jewelry with button details as a teenager, after coming across a beautiful glass jar filled to the brim in an antique store. Every button was almost hypnotically beautiful, with
Victorian picture glass, or carved celluloid details. If only I had known then what I know now- buttons that are vintage or antique can be extremely valuable. It’s best to research before using an item for jewelry or art. I respect the integrity of vintage jewelry and never alter valuable, signed or rare pieces. Most often I use broken or salvaged jewelry parts for my assemblages.

Was this business planned or did it naturally evolve?
My jewelry has evolved over time to a much more sophisticated level. When I was starting out, all I had was a hot glue gun and a vintage window frame. I spent hours gluing button after button to that frame. I intended to illustrate a scene inside each pane of glass, but never found enough buttons at the time to finish. In my mid 20’s I learned the basics of jewelry making, and using buttons was a natural progression from there.

Today I offer a variety of items in my shop- handmade earrings, rings, hair pins, bracelets, as well as
vintage items, supplies and antique photographs. My shop is ever evolving and I hope to add more Victorian era button jewelry within the next 6 months. In five years I’ll likely have even more types of jewelry in my store, as I am always discovering new ways to use my materials.

Have you taken any art classes?
I was classically trained in the arts and received a BFA in Illustration from Savannah College of Art and. Outside of my Etsy store, I teach weekly children’s art classes through my program Scribble Kids at the Brecksville Center for the Arts. I also worked in the field of illustration for 10 years creating children’s educational artwork for textbooks and self published authors. Due to a recent spinal surgery this career had to be put on hold and I am now in the process of rebranding and building a new portfolio and website for my illustration.

Are you an artist full-time or part-time?
I am currently a part-time artist and educator. Outside of my Etsy store, I teach weekly children’s art classes through my program Scribble Kids at the Brecksville Center for the Arts. I also worked in the field of illustration for 10 years creating children’s educational artwork for textbooks and picture books. Due to a recent spinal surgery this career had to be put on hold and I am now in the process of rebranding and building a new portfolio and website for my illustrations.

Do you have long-term professional goals?
My shop is ever evolving and I hope to add more Victorian era button jewelry within the next 6 months. In five years I’ll likely have even more types of jewelry in my store, as I am always discovering new ways to use my materials. My greatest challenge has been internet marketing and social media- so if you have a moment, please stop by my Etsy store or Facebook page

 
You can learn more about Katie and her work at these locations:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thebuttonbird
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/scribblekid/
Children’s Art Classes: www.scribblekids.org
Coming Soon: www.katiescalmato.com

So what fascinates you about buttons? Do you have a button collection? Do you pay attention to buttons when shopping for clothing or accessories?



3 comments:

  1. I am so happy someone else loves buttons like I do!! I have an ever growing collection as well. Some are for me to keep and cherish, the rest are intended for projects.

    Great interview Lynda, wishing Katie Scalmato many, many happy sales in her etsy shop #TheButtonBirdShop

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    1. I have a great collection of buttons, some vintage, some just old, and some new. One of the highlights my granddaughters and great granddaughter find in visiting me is playing with my buttons. Who knew that a jar of buttons was better entertainment than their tablets! *Smiles - Thanks for stopping by Joanna.

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  2. Thanks so much! I love my button collection (which is ridiculously large) and have found a use for them as something everyone can wear and enjoy :)

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