Friday, October 9, 2009

Button Mania

Some days I just don't feel led.
I even ask 'what should I be doing Lord'...
I just hate to feel the void... the idleness.
Time is one of those precious elements that I really hate to waste.

If I sit my mind starts to think about way too many things.
I look to the east, I look to the west and there is a project or a mess.
I start something in one direction and end up in a completely different direction with too much on my plate and nothing completed. I really hate those days when nothing gets done.

But if I really stretch my definition, I could say that I did accomplish much... I know I am enjoying my accomplishment... the act of gathering, you know being gatherers and hunters that we all are, I am amassing an amazing pile of buttons!

Here's another small share in my latest Internet hunt... these are minis, the largest is probably a wee bit over 1/2 inch. Look at all that detail!

And you will be happy to know ALL these pictures are clickable to a bigger size!! Wowwwiiieeeeeee!! You can see how amazing they are with just one click!

Vegetable Ivory:

At the height of their production they were second only to pearl, the only other natural material as versatile as Vegetable Ivory. A button maker's dream, Vegetable Ivory could be buffed, dyed, engraved, carved, pierced, embossed with a die, trimmed and stenciled. Vegetable Ivory takes a lustrous polish, and the buttons have a satiny feel.

From the nut of the corozo or tagua palm in the rain forests of Central and South America, the natives had used the Vegetable Ivory for personal items for centuries. Johann Hill, an Austrian wood carver, perhaps not the discoverer but some one astute enough to observe an upcoming trend, introduced Vegetable Ivory at the 1862 Universal Expo in Paris. America and England began production of the buttons right away. Some production had already been going on, but on a small scale. France did not get into the trade until the 1870's.

The trade name became Vegetable Ivory to distinguish it from tusk ivory. Also it was used as a substitute for the same when it was discovered to be cheap and plentiful. Decline in production didn't come until the 1920's when plastics became more economical. By the 1940's few Vegetable Ivory buttons were made.

Celluloid is the name of a class of compounds created from nitrocellulose and camphor, plus dyes and other agents. Generally regarded to be the first thermoplastic, it was first created as Parkesine in 1856 and as Xylonite in 1869 before being registered as Celluloid in 1870. Celluloid is easily molded and shaped, and it was first widely used as an ivory replacement. Celluloid is highly flammable and also easily decomposes, and is no longer widely used.

Antique celluloid buttons from apparel and home décor pieces can be quite fragile precisely because celluloid does contain organic materials, which degrade over time. The celluloid can “crystallize”, which causes the antique celluloid buttons to harden and finally crumble. It is best to store your antique celluloid buttons in a cool, dry place, away from all metals, heat and humidity. However, do not store them in airtight containers, as the celluloid needs to “breathe.”

So there you have a few of my acquisitions...and yes, there is more. My intent was to make jewelry out of them, but there is just something about these little vintage jewels. I can't see my self just selling them, they need to be adopted into good homes.

They are just so historical. I can envision the outfit that they were on, I even remember the camel's hair and mohair coats that the grownup's used to wear in the 50's and I have some clunky chunky buttons from that era. They could have come off my very own aunt's coats. ha.

There you have it. I could go on and on. I will need to discover oil in my backyard however...these little bits of history can be downright spendy!!! So I am pulling in the reins for now, maybe if I sell a creation or two, I can finance my habit but until then, I am learning about the different kinds and types. Sort of puts me in a happy place.

and besides, just look at what is out there....


photo courtesy of:

Shope par excelant:


Vanessa said...

Wow Nora! You are gaining quite a collection :D How fun! Those were some interesting facts on buttons. I didnt know that those buttons were called Vegetable Ivory. How cool is that! I hope you are having a very blessed weekend! Big hugs :D

Judy's Vintage Collections said...

WoWowowwowwow! you have got a The Button Fever! It is hard to break that too...I love buttons and I am like you can't stand to use the good old vintage buttons to glue or sew on to my art works...So that means you got it bad...The Button Fever that is...Take two asprins and go to bed and cover up you head...maybe it will get better...and as for as the mess in our life we get into with way too much to do or want to can take it from an old girl...I don't know if you can break that either...I have tried to get everything done...and then here is it all to do again...I am not sure I understand that one either...and as for gathering it's good thing we don't live close to each other...we would have to rent a warehouse to store our hunter stuff into...Fun fun and more fun! Enjoy your Buttons! Frame them, bottle them in glass them on a pillow...anywhere so you can look and feel there beauty.

Merry's Musings said...

Vanessa don't stand too close to me you will catch the fever, just ask Judy!!!

Judy, rolling on the floor laughing laughing laughing.
renting a warehouse is a brilliant idea!!! Why didn't I think of that, oh that's right, I just ebayed my first and last months!


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