Sunday, November 22, 2015

20 years of Buttons

It only occurred to me this week that we passed our 20 year anniversary of making ceramic buttons this year.

I certainly would never have dreamed that was an even possibility when I first started.
After buying a kiln second hand through the news paper, a bag of clay, some ceramic paints and some glaze, who would have thought 20 years later I would still be making buttons.

With only a range of about 10 different buttons, I am now up to over 500 different ones and some of those come in up to 15 different colours. Tiny little ones that are smaller than your little finger nail to others that are about 3" across.. Some come in plain colours and some are heavily hand painted. But every one, I love to make.. That's the funny weird bit.

Every one I always wonder where they will end up and what they will end up decorating. I have been told I'm strange if I let people know I think about those sorts of things, but everyone is like a little art work, for me.

Sometimes it's nice just to make the plain hearts and stars and they are certainly loved very much when I need to get a kiln on in a hurry.
Either way they take a lot of work just to get them ready for painting.

People just don't seem to 'get it' that each one is made by hand and now I'm the only one making them. At one stage through the past 20 years, I did have up to 5 ladies helping me, but even then it would have been rare if I didn't touch each button at least once during that time.

My favourite part of the process is the painting. Watching each little button coming to life is still something that even today, when I'm making buttons, is my favourite part. No matter how hard I try to make them identical, there is always a difference.
The animals are the funniest. I can remember one day about ten years ago, I was unpacking a kiln. There was a whole lot of cats in the kiln. I was taking the buttons out, and for some reason my eye caught this particular button. It's face was so hilarious. I kept that one. I still have it. I still laugh when I see it. It is a special button for me.. So when people 'hunt' through the buttons to get 'just the one', I certainly understand.

Not long after I started making the buttons, it became quite obvious that we needed to make the buttons face both ways.. Sometimes it's important that the animal is walking into the picture, not walking out of it..
So on the web site we give you the choice of which way your button is walking.
We did however have to remember that some things just can't face both ways.. We found this out, when we made the shape of 'Australia' both ways.. And can you believe they even went through the spraying, painting, glazing and kiln phases and we only picked up our error as I unpacked the kiln. It was a funny moment to suddenly realise why Australia looked 'odd'.
(Obviously I didn't do geography at school)

This last photo was only taken a week ago at the Wholesale Quilt Market in Melbourne.. I've added it here on the end of the post because it just reminds me that 'Yes, I'm still making them'
If you would like to see more of the buttons then please go to the web site and have a look around.

If you have one of the 'million' that I have made, then I hope it has given you as much joy, owning it as what it gave me, making it.

Happy buttons

1 comment:

Wendy B said...

Just love your buttons Nikki and wow....20 years! So glad you never gave up on it! Xxx