Tuesday, March 14, 2006


If, like me, you are attracted to anything bright and shiny, you probably have a jar or two of buttons lying around. Maybe it is the resemblance to coins, or the memories that they evoke of times spent as a small child going through Mother's or Grandma's button jar, but I still love to sort through them and run them through my fingers.
I remember Mum's button tin well. Among the buttons were some suspender attachments, some buckles, and also some of those funny rubber buttons that were attached to those fleecy "Liberty bodices" we were forced to wear in winter in England. There was also a collection of Cigarette silks. How I wish I had those now!! A year or two before she died, I asked my mother if she still had them, but she did not know what had happened to them.
I must confess that I have far more than a jar or two of buttons now. A number of people have passed on their family heirloom jars to me when they have been having a clean-out.

Feeling that some of these old treasures needed to be displayed, I made this wallhanging. Actually, the background chequerboard was something I had made about five years before, when I was 'playing' with graduating shades and tones in the red/yellows and the black/grey/whites. It proved the perfect complement for the old buttons, and I had a real ball deciding which button went on each square. I tried to use all different buttons, but did end up using two the same, as a challenge for folk having a 'close look.'

When our friend Samantha visits, I am always amused that she can identify which buttons came from the jar she herself had given me ages ago. She must have run those buttons through her fingers many times.

The buttons are made from a great variety of materials...plastic, bakelite, celluloid, metal, glass, wood, leather, shell, tortoise shell, and a few made from substances I cannot identify. Some of them are enormous - used no doubt on those heavy overcoats we used to wear.

I have also bought lots of buttons in secondhand and Op shops, and often buy an Op shop garment just for the buttons. Metal and glass are my favourites. I just love the cool feel of glass buttons against my lips. When people see me hold buttons and beads to my mouth, I often have to explain that I am performing the "Glass or plastic" test.

1 comment:

Gillian said...

Biddy-boddies! That's what we called our liberty bodices and we hated the struggle with the funny little rubber buttons but they kept our little chests warm as we walked to and from school in the winter, and often in the snow.
I haven't enough buttons. I always want what I haven't got and so my first port of call is also the op shop, cheers Gillian

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