I have been planning to do another “collections” post for awhile now, and two things have made me choose buttons as the focus for this entry.
First, I had the chance to attend an opening at the Beet Gallery here in Portland, where my two friends Ilisha Helfman and Joe Freedman are showing their work. Ilisha and Joe’s art is incredibly beautiful and wide ranging; between the two of them the media they explore range from laser-cut cards, to handmade paper dolls, to photography (both designing the camera and printing the photos) to knitting, with almost everything in between. One of Ilisha’s projects even involves creating very very small things, including buttons.
Second, I was fortunate to receive a new lens for my camera as an anniversary gift from S (with assistance from my stepson, G) and it is a macro lens, which lets me take extreme close-ups of small things.
Even though my mother was not someone who sewed (in fact she was the person who cheered when my friend J and I created “no sew clothes” for our dolls, an invention that left J’s mother, a woman who spun her own wool and wove her own cloth from sheep she raised, aghast), she did have a box of buttons and I remember pawing through it from a very young age.
My own button collection began with those extra buttons manufacturers like to provide with new clothes, in case the buttons they sew on at the factory fall off.
Those buttons piled up in various drawers for years, until I started to create a more intentional collection.
Now I look for buttons at garage sales, in thrift stores, and at flea markets. Since most people have buttons lying around, it’s rare that I don’t find something.
Most of the buttons I have wouldn’t be considered “collectible;” instead, I would describe my collection as eclectic.
Many of my buttons are colorful,
but not all.
Some of my buttons are old,
and some are new.
A lot of them are mounted on cards,
and some are tied with string.
When I haven’t spilled them out for photographing, I keep my buttons like this