A blog about buttons #1
Button collecting may refer to the collecting of various types of buttons – military, folk, historical – but my collection revolves around clothing buttons. To me these humble, hardworking objects are more like jewels to admire and covet.
In modern clothing and fashion a button is a small fastener that joins two pieces of fabric together. Today they are most commonly made of plastic – that’s why reloving is best – but also from glass, metal, wood, porcelain or seashell. Mother of Pearl makes the prettiest of buttons in many subtle shades and hues.
Buttons are most often attached to fasten or decorate clothing but can also be used on accessories such as purses and bags. The most beautiful buttons may be sewn onto garments exclusively for ornamentation. Some decorative buttons are like tiny works of art.
I’m sure that many of you grew up sorting Nan’s button collection. A button box filled with buttons that helped you to learn about colours and counting and size and shape. I expect they kept you quiet for hours! Nan knew best!
Button collecting varies widely. At its most informal and, probably, most popular a button collection may simply be the household button container, where buttons are stored for future use on clothing or for crafts – an old chocolate or biscuit tin; a sweetie jar or a sewing box. Where do you keep your collection?
At the other end of the spectrum are the competitive collectors, mainly found in the USA where there is a National Button Society! This supports collectors to build information about the history of buttons and hosts annual collector competitions. Regional, State and local button clubs meet regularly as well. Can you even imagine the thrill?
In between these two extremes are the casual button collectors, like me, who accumulate buttons for sheer enjoyment and relaxation, as well as for their functional value. Fisheye, shanks, sew through and stud – such romantic names!
Some museums and art galleries hold culturally, historically, politically, and/or artistically significant buttons in their collections. The V and A has many buttons, particularly in its jewellery collection. Imagine a museum vault full of buttons! You could be there for weeks!
To be continued … Tx