In Regards to Buttons

I don’t recall where all the buttons came from. The bowling pins were my maternal grandfather’s (Ralph Ward), the red half moons from a dress my mother wore as a girl, the five green ones from a coat of hers. Once people knew I liked buttons, they started giving me theirs, saved from the time when recycling was “making do” and not “cool.”  I have a whole jar of my former mother-in-law”s family’s buttons in the attic. I bought a bunch from junk shops until they started getting called “antique stores.” Some of them are fragile, now, the celluloid cracking, the crackled glass crumbling. Some I used, as the original owners intended, in new clothes. Not just old buttons, either. I have also used old table linens, handkerchiefs, laces, and ribbons.

When I married my husband I wore most of an old shirtwaist. I say “most” because I had to replace sections with new lace and fabric. I used entredeux, which are basically small strips of  fabric with holes, to join old to new. I like the idea of holes to join – like jumping gaps in history.

I keep the better buttons (onxy, carved glass, some metal and mother of pearl) in an indigo blue Depression glass bowl. Once, Aislinn made a stepping stone and I gave her some of my collected buttons, an Avon mouse pin my mother once gave me and some other things to press in the concrete. She left it behind with her childhood. It sits on my bookcase along with a clay sculpture Kieli made in Middle School –  Dr. Suess trees and a flattened cat that looks like Card VI on the Rorschach.

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2 thoughts on “In Regards to Buttons

  1. redmitten says:

    i had a button collection but it didn’t make it out of childhood with me- so it’s neat to read this and know buttons are still with you. i think- what a neat way to remember people/events- by saving the buttons from their coats, gloves, whatever.

    but over the top of all that is this layer of holes serving to join gaps. i think this is a property of nature we overlook because we see “hole” as a nothingness, but really, the power of a hole begins just as you say: to join.

    • Thanks for your comment, Sherry. I’m glad you got the holes. I wrote this thing, rambling, didn’t know where it was going, realized it was the holes! Well, these aren’t supposed to be polished pieces, just notes for later.

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