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buttons galore

  • I tutored a workshop 'button making' to a group of button collectors.

    This was the upshot of an email exchange, starting with a question that was put to me by one of the collectors. The question was about an old Chinese button that had been acquired and that had an enamelled back. WHY had this been done?

    None of these collectors had enamelled before, and I myself had never been particularly interested in buttons, but when we came together it became clear that there was a feeling of mutual interest in what we were going to do.


    All of them had brought part of their collections, vintage buttons enamelled in various ways; I saw buttons made in the grisaille technique, sgraffito and Limoge-painted; there were some enamelled engine-turned items and buttons with cloisonné patterns. The Chinese button that had sparked off the workshop was there as well; it was a small, white button - very simple but important in that it had raised the interest because of its enamelled back and because it had brought us together.


    After a short introduction to enamelling, a study of colour samples and my sample book of techniques, all participants chose the colours they would like to work with and the technique they wished to use.

    When the workshop had ended each of them had made several buttons and all of us had learned a lot.

    From now on I shall look at buttons with 'different eyes'

    My special thanks go to ThompsonEnamel who sent me the copper discs we used at VERY short notice... my studio had been visited by a burglar and all of my copper stock had been stolen. It turned out to be impossible to get other shapes for the buttons at short notice in Europe, but ThompsonEnamel came to the rescue.