In yesterday’s post, guest blogger Jill Gorski of Jillions of Buttons shared how she got started collecting buttons and explained some of the unique varieties in her collection. Today Jill shows us several more cool categories of buttons and their history.
Colored Glass Buttons
This photo shows a type of Colored Glass buttons. The style may look more familiar to you because these were made at a time in our history when glass was competing with plastics and many themes can be found using both materials. These buttons are referred to as “Kiddee” buttons, as they were intended for children’s clothing.
These divine buttons were handmade from porcelain and hand painted, just as they have been for ages. Ladies were expected to learn many talents such as painting, needlework and flower arranging and as a result we have many beautiful porcelain buttons! In addition, Eastern cultures created amazing designs that became famous world-wide, bringing their regions for which they were named to light. We know them by names such as Aritas and Satsumas and they are unmistakable in their design. The buttons you see here were made by my dear friend, Cindy Webb, and can be found on my web site, www.Jillionsofbuttons.com.
WWI and WWII brought about rapid changes in every area of production and consumerism. Many types of plastic formulas were invented and Industry was quick to take advantage. Celluloid, the first attempt at a chemically made plastic type product, was used for many items and for a long period of time, considering that it is unstable and highly flammable! These buttons are plentiful and inexpensive, but they should be kept in a container of their own that is open, or that has a porous lid! When these buttons crack, craze and crumble, they release gases that are detrimental to you and you other buttons. If you do not keep them away from your iron, glue gun and clothes dryer, as well as from water, you could have a major mess on your hands…or project!
Other scientists were quick to replace Celluloid with their own compounds. Buttons, as well as other things common in our lives, were produced using Bakelite, Lucite, and other polymers. Science can now produce buttons that look like shell, metal, wood and even fabric, quickly and cheaply. We now have a plethora of buttons to choose from that look expensive, but are not. Or are they? What have we lost by taking away craftsmanship, skill and design from our everyday lives?
In my opinion, we have lost a little of the joy given by “something done so thoroughly”. Look at your world through “button colored glasses” and bring art back to the utilitarian. As always, button up, my friends!
Do you have a button collection? What are some of your favorite button finds? Do you use them on projects or just save them to look at? Share in the comments below!