Ever since I learned about a species of quail actually called "button quail" (probably because it's so small), I knew I had a use for the many buttons that my sister Barbara has been sending me. She loves garage sales, and she has a standing order from me for junk jewelry, buttons, and other strange stuff that I like to use in my work.
I spent a lot of time thinking about this project before starting on it. For one thing, I wasn't sure whether I wanted to glue the buttons flat or stack them; as you can tell, I did a bit of both. I think the stacked or staggered ones give a feeling of movement to the wing portion, and the flat ones define the breast nicely. Also, I still haven't decided whether to grout or not, so I painted the bird outline first in brown paint, so the primed board wouldn't show if I decided not to grout. The beak, topknot, feet, and branch are stained glass. I'm still thinking about the background - leaning toward an abstract stained glass design that will not fight for attention with the buttons, and I will most likely grout any stained glass parts. The other option is a painted background; that would be a real departure from previous work, but who knows? It might work best. I can always paint first, and mosaic over it if I don't like it.
The color combination is pretty close to what these birds actually look like, though my interpretation of it is loose, to say the least. I might replace the small millefiori I used for the eye with a larger half-bead so it's more prominent. Stay tuned for phase 2!