Monday, July 27, 2009

Button Fetish

Yes, I have a thing for buttons. I've long been fascinated by them and have collected them for a generation. I'm lucky to live in a city where it's easy to acquire the most amazing buttons in one's travels to notions stores and flea markets, and Ebay and Etsy feed my habit, too. I love buying a jar of buttons in an antique store, especially if the buttons still have a clump of thread or fabric attached to them...people threw away old clothes, but they saved the buttons - a thrifty sense of economy that benefits everyone. Once upon a time, buttons were treasured little items, and to me, they still are.

I have a customer who bought a huge cache of vintage pearl buttons on Ebay and poured them into a bowl that she keeps on her dresser so she can run her fingers through them periodically. I think it's a fabulously romantic idea and wish that I could amass a trove like that I would not plunder to make into things. I imagine a pretty glass bowl of luminous buttons on a marble or wood-topped dresser, their etched and worn surfaces glittering in half-light, having once decorated tender little garments in linen and cotton, intimate garments of ladies long lost to time.

I made this vintage button bracelet for a friend from some sensational antique buttons in her stash. She is a fellow costume designer and I recently sorted through her buttons and discovered a number of singletons that would probably never grace a costume again - not enough to to be useful, but too interesting to languish forgotten in a ziploc bag. Now she can wear them all at once, and what a great piece of jewelry for a designer who specializes in period costume.

If you have a box of grandmother's buttons tucked away in a drawer, consider having a bracelet made so that you can proudly wear her treasured collection. I have several pieces on my shop made from buttons and try to make them as quickly as they sell out. I'm happy that others treasure the humble button (some are not so humble - they're downright outrageous) as much as I do.

Here's a variety of button necklaces currently in my shop.

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