Yes, first let me say that just in case you didn’t know it, there is a National Button Day! November 16 to be exact. And, it has been around since 1938 when it was started by the National Button Society to recognize button collecting as a hobby! I’m definitely in! "Today is the 23rd of November" you’re thinking…well, yes, I am a bit late with my post for good reason.
Technical issues…old, old, old camera went kaput a few weeks back…and there was no reviving it, try as I might. That meant no pix for the site/shop or my blog as planned on the 16th. Good news is that I took the plunge and bought a new baby – Canon T5i, which, so far, I am over the moon with; but so much to learn and so many photo faux pas to prove my ignorance with it all. It’s as if I am back in Photography 100 (not even Photography 101 – that would be far too advanced); but the good news is that it is digital and I am not burning through roll after roll of film as I did in the golden days of the 60s! I ask that you be a bit patient with me as I learn how to get the most representative pix over the next few months...or years. I am determined to be the little red hen when it comes to running my biz. Technology is so amazing these days – cripes, this camera does more than I will ever use let alone understand in my lifetime.
Now, back to the button deal. Yes, I remember playing with jars of buttons in my mom’s, my aunt’s and my grandma’s sewing stashes as a kid in the 50s. I loved the variety – plastic, shell, glass and crystal – guess one might say I was easily entertained as a child! That early love carried forward and somewhere along the way evolved into a powerful fascination with vintage buttons of all shapes, sizes and materials. Consequently, it is so much fun for me to combine my love of these vintage buttons with my love of making jewelry. And, it makes me so happy that all of you seem to love it just as much! Thank you for that.
On the whole, I usually stick with Czech glass buttons for my designs – primarily because the quality is unsurpassed. While the buttons I used in these designs are not actually old, they were made using two-hundred-year-old molds found in two Czech glass factories. These glass buttons are still manufactured by those two factories in the same way they were made two hundred years ago – the technique has not changed. Luckily, my supplier buys directly from the factory, which makes my cost a bit more reasonable; so I can pass that on to you. I’m telling you – when I meet with him every year at the Tucson Gem Show, my head begins to spin, my eyes glaze over and I am speechless for a few minutes. Seriously…I’m stupefied by the beauty of them all and I am always grateful that I can melt onto the seat of my rolling shopping cart while I paw through hundreds of buttons! (Yes, a granny-style rolling shopping cart, because I am a real granny and walking for miles and looking through beads for days on end is hard work!) Maybe this year he’ll have a little espresso machine so I can boost my energy and look for hours at buttons without getting a case of the vapors! I’m thinking it would be worth the caffeine buzz and subsequent headache that is sure to follow for the decaf only me – anything for just the right button! Now, that’s dedication, right or am I just nuts?
While I add to my personal collection every year, I am always on the hunt for designs and styles that will work themselves into bracelets and necklaces. I always choose the buttons for their star quality in future jewelry designs where the multi-strands of complementary beads and chain are supporting actors, of sorts. Designing with these buttons, some of which are really large, requires a bit of engineering to get the button to lay just right on the strands and then look stunning on your wrist. Each design has its own architecture – a challenge the geek in me happily accepts. All of the designs here are up on the site/shop now – rather limited in quantity and, I must warn you, they move out quickly. Sometimes I bring back designs – if I can find the same button or pull a few from my collection – but some of them are truly one-of-a-kind pieces. Each bracelet is beautiful worn alone; but you know, I love stacking them up as I have shown. I like giving you some inspiration to jump in and create your personal unique look. Happy hunting!
P.S. Curious – did your mom or grandma have a jar of buttons in her sewing stash? If she did…did you play with them as a kid?