a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Dog Butt(on)s

Monday, November 01, 2010

Dog Butt(on)s

SUMMARY: An amazing collection
One Bay Teamer shows up at trials and events with shirts, notecards, and other things sporting the most beautiful and unique buttons. We ran into each other once, on one of our rare nonagility weekends, doing garage sales. I was in search of inexpensive useful household items; she was in search of rare and unusual buttons.

Here are her agility dogs, which are as cute as (and not much bigger than) buttons:

Anyway, at a trial a year or so ago, we got to talking, and it turns out that she doesn't merely have a few jars of buttons; she is a competitive button collector (who knew you could even do that!) with a house filled to the brim with buttons.

A couple of us begged for a viewing, and when she realized that we were serious, she invited us over wayyy back in August and gave us an hour's tour of a small percentage of her buttons. I tried taking shots with a handheld camera; didn't work out well. I've told her I want to come back and take more photos.

Herewith are just a few of her 10s of thousands--most neatly assembled (by her) on cards in boxes.

Mostly they're assembled by type of material.

They might also be grouped by color.

For competition, the groupings have to have themes--for example, "French things":

I don't even remember all the ways that they were grouped, but she pulled out card after card of amazingly crafted buttons of diverse materials and origins. And showed us her bookcase full of button books, which she's mostly memorized so that she can recognize the good buttons when she finds them at garage or estate sales or antique shops. Here's still more:

She creates attractive displays of related buttons, many of which hang on her walls.

Oh--and you can also collect and compete with studs--you know, those embossed metal things on your blue jeans that you never pay any attention to? Here's a clever display she made of some of hers:

She knows all the art-button crafters in the area, too, and buys their one-of-a-kind buttons (sorry, dogs, had to get this gorgeous cat one in):

Oh, and in case we were wondering about the dozens and dozens of gas lamps all over the house, yep, they collect those, too, and have boxes and boxes of them neatly stored as well. Together, they make some pretty impressive viewing.

And, of course, among all those boxes, there are cards of dog buttons! We looked at a bunch of them, trying to guess some of the uncertain breeds.
The "Victorian Black Glass" on the card above, I pointed out, looked just like recently deceased Scully, who belonged to the friend who went with me on this tour, and to our surprise, our hostess pulled the button off and gave it to my friend! She said that she had some border collie buttons around somewhere but wasn't sure where at the moment.

Now, here it is two and a half months later, and last week, this arrived in the mail:
I am thrilled! These are Fimo (polymer clay) buttons, and it just so happens that I have a friend who got involved in fimo art for a while, so I know a little bit about how these are made. You see how they're the same design front and back (except inverse)? That's because the design goes all the way through. The artist carefully assembles layers of different colors of femo clay into a long roll, then slices through the roll, and if she's done it right, you get little pictures like this. Astounding. Here's a very simple example of how to do this craft.

So now I have some beautiful art border collie buttons. Will have to think what clever thing I can do with them. They look like they have a good sit-stay, anyway.


  1. Amazing. Some beautiful buttons!!

  2. Yep, gorgeous buttons...and she's a top-notch button competitor as well! Those two little pooches are just too much!!! Loved your post.

  3. Holy! Or should I say holey! Them's a LOT of buttons! Really neat to see -- so many gorgeous pieces there.