Are you a quilter or crafter with a button box? Or do you remember playing with your grandmother’s button box? Well, for those of us who are collectors, buttons are a passion!
They say quilters never have enough fabric and button collectors never find enough buttons. Suffice to say on the weekend of September 29-October 1, everyone, quilters, sewers, crafters and jewelry designers will band together for Buttons: Keeping it Together Show and Sale at the Ottawa Convention and Event Centre, 200 Coventry, Ottawa, ON.
An important part of the event will be several displays featuring Canadian button manufacturing. There will also be an expert on hand to identify buttons brought to the show: Their material, the era of manufacturing and how those buttons are categorized by the National Button Society (NBS).
NBS with members from across the United Stated and Canada publishes a classification book, identifying buttons by date, construction, art or theme. An example being the largest metal picture buttons, made in the late 1800s which tell the story of an opera or fable. Or “Pearl Buttons” made of shell and intricately carved.
Often, we are asked “where do I start?” We suggest you start with what you like the most. A favourite are glass buttons which are plentiful, especially black glass buttons. These buttons became popular in Victorian England after Queen Victoria went into mourning on the death of Prince Albert. Today there are hundreds of assorted designs to interest a collector.
Large button shows are popular for women and men. A military button dealer will have interesting information about the history of the regiment or uniform buttons representing police or fire departments or transportation with railroad buttons or airlines. Vanity buttons are those advertising clothing designers, (Brooks Bros. or Pierre Cardin, etc.) often plentiful as well.
Or look for rubber buttons with a backmark “Goodyear 1849-1854.” Golden Age buttons are gold-plated brass buttons only made between 1830-1850; and enamel buttons, which are some of the most beautiful with intricate designs.
The price of buttons varies from $1 each up to several hundred dollars. Button can be chosen from a card of 30 or 42 buttons, or in a “Poke Box.” A box full of loose buttons are placed on tables for the collector to sort. Keep track of the number and you can hunt and find in a brief time.
Once you begin collecting, you will want to learn how to display them and if competitive there are competitions at button shows which stipulate exactly the number of buttons required, their size and a theme. Collectors smile as they will put together a card of say 30 medium-size buttons costing more than $200 to purchase only to win the top prize of $10!
Like all collectors, there are buttons that one must find! And you can be sure those will be on display and for sale at the Canadian Button Show and Sale (http://www.ottawavalleybuttonclub.ca/button-convention) in Ottawa. Come and meet these avid hunters and see what button collecting is all about!
Buttons: Keeping it Together
• Friday evening, September 29, Reception and workshop.
• Saturday September 30. Competition cards judged; workshop, show room open to the public 10-5; Button Auction 7:00 p.m.
• Sunday Convention Breakfast; Competition trays on display; showroom open to the public 10-4.