Buckle Up: Belt Buckles Beyond Function


Buckle Up: Belt Buckles Beyond Function

The belt buckle has long been a functional object.  It has only been since the early 20th century that it has truly become a fashion statement.  This exhibition features a collection of contemporary, hand crafted belt buckles that really examine what this amazing accessory can do beyond its solely functional past.

Members: 27
Latest Activity: 13 hours ago

Danielle James



‘World Champ(leve)’


Materials: Leather, Brass, Copper, Nickle, Champleve Enamel.

Photo by artist


“This belt buckle was born from an enameling joke my peers and I share of calling the process of Champleve enamel Champ leve. This gave me the idea to create a visual pun for the 2012 World Belt Buckle Competition, which this buckle won third place in! When the QR code is scanned it takes you to a live performance of "We Are the Champions" by Queen on YouTube.”

Abigail Heuss    



‘For My Lumberjill’

3.5" x 4" x .25"

Materials: Copper, Nickel, Brass, Silver, Fabric

Photo by artist


“This piece is a competition trophy for my sister, Molly.  She was a member of the University of New Hampshire Woodsmen Team, with whom she competed nationally in the Beck Saw, Chopping and Pole Climb events.  This is my lumberjack version of traditional rodeo champion belt buckles.”

Darren Fisher



3 1/2" x 7/8"

Materials: Sterling Silver, Pure Iron

Photo by artist


“Belt buckles are inherently tools, after all, without them your pants would undoubtedly fall down.  As many a jeweler and metalsmith, I take pride and see the beauty in my collection of tools.  My buckles merge the sartorial and metal arts, in essence acting as unofficial Badges of Honor.”

Darren Fisher


‘Size Matters’

3 3/16" x 5/8"

Materials:  American Wire Gauge, Sterling Silver

Photo by artist


Casey Sheppard



‘Squirrel Bait and Weez’

5" x 3" x 2"

Materials: Copper, Sterling Silver, Silver Nickel, PVC Pipe

Photo by artist

“This is a reflection of my relationship with my brother, showing all our battle wounds of life, how sometimes you are barely holding on, but no matter what you still stick together, always there for each other, through think and thin. The name of the piece is our two nicknames growing up.”

Alisha Low



‘Brain Buckle’

4.25" x 3.5" x .5"

Materials:  Copper, Brass, Resin, Heat Patina

Photo by artist


“This is a contemporary spin on a buckle inspired by my love of biology, specifically the left and right hemispheres of a human brain. Many traditional buckles use two interacting halves to function properly just as our brain requires the connecting neural fibers of the corpus callosum.”

Julie Belfiore




2 ½ x 3 ½ x ¾”

Materials:  Bronze, Sterling Silver, Leather, Cubic Zirconia, Vintage Cigarettes

Photo by artist


“While striving to incorporate fashion and function in my body of work, Joe’s was created. Reflecting on the glamour once held by tobacco use, I pulled imagery from vintage cigarette advertisements. Once used to seduce the consumer, I take this now taboo subject matter and place it over the belt as a means of advertising and seduction of both the product and body. This reminds my audience of the cultural change that has evolved into the disapproval of tobacco usage and advertising.”

Julie Belfiore




2 ½ x 4 x ½”

Materials: Pewter, Brass, Leather

Photo by artist


“From the viewpoint of a jeweler, I seek out in what ways wearable objects serve a second function which have never been intended by the maker. In the production of User, I examine the theme of substance abuse as a growing crisis in our culture. This dark comedy brings to light of what the designer sees as fashion accessory, in reality serves little more than a tool to consume narcotics to over half a million victims of heroin addiction in the United States.”

Tara J Murphy



‘What is the link...? III; Belt sash necklace- in-one’

3’ x 11.24”

Materials: Discarded Food Packaging, Brass

Photo by Sally Verrall & Rosie Ellis


“This belt's adjustable closing mechanism accommodates wearers of different sizes allowing them to easily change the item from one placement on the body to another.  It utilizes discarded materials for their practical, aesthetic and symbolic associations to act as visual reminders of material consumption provoking conversation, conservation and sustainable practices."

 Karine Rodrigue     



‘Chant à la Déesse - Song to the Goddess’

39” x 12”

Materials: Sterling Silver, Brass, Copper, Pure Gold         

Photo by artist      


“This hip ornament was inspired by the gaudy scarves worn by baladi dancers. It is intended to be worn around the waist and is composed of a trellis of silver thread upon which a series of superimposed metal discs click suggestively to the movements of the dancer’s body. These metal discs are embossed with original motifs and stamped with lettering that contains a burning and ecstatic song of desire addressed to the goddess Aphrodite who would not have displeased Sapho.” 


Jaime Sawka



‘The Bigger the Buckle the Better the Man’

3.5" x 5.5" x 2"

Materials: Brass, Wood, Leather

Photo by artist


“Perceptions of gender in materials and processes intrigue me as a maker and craftsperson. The objects conceived from these contemplations employ embedded ideas of gender within image, material, and process. Through my observations I gain insight into regional and universal cultures of craft that often transcend time and place.”


Jera Rose Petal Lodge



‘Mondrian Buckle’

3” x 2.5” x 1.25”

Materials: Steel, Fine Silver, Pearls

Photo by artist


“Inspired by the geometric lines of building frameworks and scaffolding, this buckle is a feminized rendition of the fundamental lines of a belt buckle.”


Diane Weimer



‘Children of the Past’

3 ½” x 2” x ¼”

Materials: Sterling Silver, Vintage Tintype

Photo by artist


“The centerpiece is a tintype of two farm girls. Their facial expression creates a look of innocence and honesty, as we imagine the tough life before them. An offset faceplate sets the focus. I believe this picture triggers memories from the past…perhaps a nostalgic interlude to ponder.”

Olga Kosica      



‘Monument to the fallen hero’

 3.1” x 4.7” x 1.2”

Materials: Brass (silverplated and patina)

Photo by Mimi Antolovič

Nash Quinn


‘Phone Pole Belt Buckle’

5” x 5” x 2”

Materials:  Copper, Steel, Nickel Silver, Sterling Silver

Photo by artist


“Reminiscent of the landscape in my home state of Wyoming, this diorama-like piece challenges the belt buckle’s traditional format, but is sturdy enough to be easily wearable.”

Nash Quinn


‘Brick Wall Belt Buckle’

4” x 3.5” x 1”

Materials:  Copper, Walnut, Nickel Silver, Plexi, Photograph

Photo by artist


“This belt buckle traps the viewer inside a brick structure, looking out through the window onto a bleak but seductive landscape.”

Nash Quinn



3” x 2” x 1”

Materials:  Copper, Nickel Silver

Photo by artist


“The imagery on this buckle and its location on the body when worn make a suggestive combination.  Pieces like this allow me to indulge in my interest in silliness and provocation.”

Dauvit Alexander




3.5" x 3" x 0.75"

Materials: found, corroded iron; polycarbonate from an old advertising sign; silver; garnets; white topaz

Photo by Andrew Neilson


“A buckle to be worn on a contemporary kilt, reflecting the history of Scottish jewellery and recent developments in gothicism.”

Dauvit Alexander



‘Empire State Human: A Post-Industrial Codpiece’

6" x 6" at widest, 3" deep

Materials: Sheffield stainless-steel table knives from a burnt-out house; corroded spring washers from an abandoned factory; silver; 40/60 Shibuichi; Cubic Zirconia

Photo by Simon Murphy


“Taking a cue from the Nitzchean and Marxist ideals of the music evolving in Sheffield (UK) during the transition from industrial to post-industrial – eg: The Human League and Cabaret Voltaire – this piece seeks to protect the steel-worker from both literal and figurative castration by the god/dess Mammon.”

Jessica Todd



‘Dowry Belt’

7" x 8" x 1/8"

Materials: Embroidered Cotton, Laser Cut Stainless Steel, Copper, Nickel Silver, Leather

Photo by Rachel Smith


“The stitched embellishments on this piece are adapted from traditional Middle Eastern dowry embroideries that use flower motifs to symbolize the fertility of the new bride. This belt emphasizes an enduring expectation that women bring fertility and a desire for motherhood to their adult relationships.”


About the curator: Erika Uzmann’s work focuses on the ‘unnatural’ aspects of the food industry. This ranges from the unnatural treatment of animals to the growing industrialization of the farming industry. “We are so far removed from where we began with agriculture in this country that consuming meat has become a battle of ethics, politics, health and the environment.”


Erika Uzmann received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Jewelry and Metals from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2009 and her Master of Fine Arts degree in Metals at Miami University in 2012. Erika is now working at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 



'Cow Belt Buckle'

4” x 3” x .75”

Materials:  Nickel Silver, Acrylic, Cotton

Photo by artist

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Buckle Up: Belt Buckles Beyond Function to add comments!

Comment by Lorena Angulo on December 11, 2013 at 2:23pm

Wonderful exhibition !!

Comment by Kimberly Nogueira on November 20, 2013 at 8:31pm

I really enjoying this exhibition, thank you!

Comment by Patrick C Walter on November 11, 2013 at 10:51am

Patrick Walter

Bronze Bottle Opener

3" x 2"

Materials: Cast Bronze and Steel




Members (27)


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Masthead Credits

Rachel Suzanne Smith, Stow, OH

Primrose Ruff

Waterjet cut aluminum, powder coat.

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