This was a great way to use some of my fabric and ribbon scraps with colorful buttons. The salt/pepper shakers are from the Dollar Store and thrift stores.
Florida State Button Society President Linda Gass welcomed us and Linda Wood did a marvelous job moving attendees through the agenda at the 2018 Judges Seminar in Pinellas Park on April 27, 2018. The review of the 2019 Show Awards categories was completed. In addition, excellent educational experiences were conducted by Linda Wood (DIGs Buttons, Cricket Cage Buttons), Maggie Johnson (black and white Celluloids, vertebrates/invertebrates on buttons and whistle buttons), Vicki Condie (Lacy Glass Buttons) and Sue Moncrieff (Twinkle Buttons).
People collect all kinds of things so it would make sense that these admired little works of art found in button form are passionately collected! Do you remember playing with your mother’s—or grandmother’s —button box or jar or tin? Homemakers have long snipped buttons from clothing headed for the ragbag. For what reason? Just in case they can be used again or because they were too valuable, or too pretty or interesting to dispose of. No doubt for all of those reasons.
Button collecting got its start during the Great Depression when Gertrude Howell Patterson and her passion for collecting buttons were featured on a radio show called "Hobby Lobby" in October, 1937. The show provided a free trip to New York City for anyone with an unusual or particularly interesting hobby. Button collecting obviously resonated with the listeners. Maybe because it was a hobby that just about anybody could afford during those lean times and their button collection could be started with finds at home in their own saved button jars and tins.
That same year, Hobbies Magazine hosted a hobby show at the Hotel Sherman in Chicago. Button collectors showed their collections at the show and the magazine featured button collecting in one of its issues. The burgeoning interest helped lead to the formation of the National Button Society in 1938. In 1939, the National Button Society hosted its own show in Chicago. By the 1940s, Hobbies Magazine began to feature articles and ads for the button collector. Ms. Patterson wrote for the magazine.
The National Button Society’s emphasis has always been on the preservation and study of clothing buttons.
The National Button Society now has more than 2,400 members on four continents. Currently 39 of the 50 states have state and local button clubs.
With the help of national exposure in magazines like Family Circle and Life in the early and mid 40s, collecting buttons soon became the number one hobby during the time among women and No. 3 overall (after coins and stamps). Although times were still hard and money scarce, buttons were not so hard to come by.
The National Button Society was the leader in shaping button collecting. They defined buttons made before 1918 as old and those made after 1918 as modern.
(Above text is from my “The History of Buttons—Why We Collect the Little Masterpieces of Art” program, which I will present at the National Button Society Convention on Thursday, August 23, 2018, from 9-10 a.m. The program is great for avid button collectors as well as "newbies."
At on March 19, 2018 meeting, long-time collector Charlotte talked to us about black glass buttons. One of the most interesting topics she covered is how to tell if a button is the rare jet (made of fossilized wood) or just black glass. Charlotte says to start by tearing up tiny pieces of paper in a pile (thin paper like from the Sunday funny papers or tissue paper). Then using a piece or ball of wool, rub the button vigorously to see if it creates static electricity. If it has it will be able to pick up or flutter the pieces of paper. That will tell you it is jet.
Also shared was by Annie is this beautiful tray of "salted black buttons." The term describes a black glass button with white decorative enhancement. They are not very common but are very distinctive. Annie says it took her awhile to create this full tray.
On Friday, a continental breakfast will be served at 8:30 a.m. just prior to the beginning of the Judge's Seminar. The Judge's Seminar is an "editing and clarifying" review of the submitted award categories for the 2019 Florida State Button Show. The meeting's educational presentations will include in-depth review of 21 (Lacy Glass), 23 (Twinkles), 22 (Cricket Cages); "Questions I Have On Certain Awards" (which will include awards; 10 celluloid spec to black + cream/white, 27 invertebrates and invertebrates, 39 whistles) and a brief overview of 20 (DIGS). Lunch is also included in the $25 fee. On Saturday, April 28, the Button Swap & Shop Event will start at 9 a.m. and run until 1 p.m. A variety of button vendors will be there. Swap & Shop vendor tables are $12 but there is no fee to come to shop or swap. For more information, call: Pam Davis at (727) 742-5584 or Maggie Johnson at (727) 394-0438. Make checks payable to Margaret Johnson and mail to her at 11533 48th Ave. N., St. Petersburg, FL 33708.
Husband or significant other have no interest in buttons?
If they are golfers, here's a way to entice them to take the trip to Jacksonville with you! Only 30 minutes away is:
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The Button Scavenger Hunt on Feb. 21 was a super fun success!. Eight of us Hernando County Button Collectors Group members spent 45 minutes looking through the clothing racks at our local Goodwill to find garments with the prettiest buttons. Cynthia Speciale's gold metal weave and pearl button was chosen as the winner. Three buttons were in contention...we had to ask the Perkins Restaurant server to break the tie!
Sylvia Liszka Durell, Author
Owner of HoleyButtons.com and a founding member of the Hernando County Button Collectors Group in Florida.