Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A brief history of the button ...

According to Jill Gorski ( Warman's Buttons Field Guide.), the humble button has occupied a special place in history and was originally made in sets that were attached and removed from a garment each time it was worn. Such buttons were crafted by artisans who belonged to a Guild of Buttonmakers - these craft guilds were established in the mid 13th Century - and buttons really were tiny works of art. They were marked and records of each craftsmans work were kept. These artisans were commissioned by the aristocracy to create magnificent buttons to adorn their clothes and show off their wealth. Of course the poor old commoner had to make do with far less glam buttons made of wood, cloth and bone. This was in part because of the cost factor but also because a royal decree dictated what the 'lower classes' could or could not wear. Leap forward to the 17th and 18th Centuries and buttons were being made form all sorts of materials and England and France were the leaders of the button making industry. Artisans of all kinds began to make buttons in their chosen mediums so you would find a potter who made ceramic buttons or a weaver who made woven buttons. This was apparently quite a lucrative sideline! The Industrial Revolution saw buttons being created in larger quantities and at far less cost than ever before and in a sense led to the demise of the artisan crafted button. Now there is a plethora of buttons on the market but I reckon the best ones are the vintage ones you find in op shops. I love the way they are presented ...

Sometimes they come on cards ...


or in little bags ...


or in jars ...


 and if you are lucky, big bundles ...




There are big buttons ..



and shiny buttons ...


buttons of glass ...




and craftily covered buttons ...


or lovely piles of colourful buttons ...




Best of all, there are RED buttons ...



and most bestest of all, there are red BIRDIE buttons!



Squeal! I love buttons!

4 comments:

Enchanted Moments said...

Buttons, buttons, buttons, buttons...say it over and over...yep, nothing like running your fingers through a pile of vintage buttons....I have all my nana's in little bags, all coloured coded...I love the mauve bag the best...she sorted them all, and I will never open them...lucky the bags are see through!

♥ w o o l f ♥ said...

fascinating stuff!
n♥

Loo xx from Jumbles and Pompoms said...

A fascinating read and, even better, fabulous pics of buttons. I love playing with mine and have made a few button rings recently. Lost my favourite big red wooden button yesterday. Booo hoooo. Stuck it on a ring base and went shopping with it on. It fell off and I couldn't find it anywhere. Devastated.

Ms Kath Pathwalker said...

And, you can NEVER have too many! Right?