Friday, January 30, 2009


Icollect buttons. Old buttons. They used to be made so carefully, out of glass & wood & metal and delectable plastics.
Buttons were more ornamental, not just utilitarian. They were actually designed and carefully considered unlike today's uniform plastic after-thoughts with an extra attached in a small plastic bag. I save those too of course because one day maybe the plastic will break down and become more interesting or maybe I will find a use for them I've not yet imagined. Maybe just because I don't know what else to do with them... But the old ones, with their visual  and tactile ghosts and omens do inspire me to no end. I sort them and organize them and make messes of them all over again when searching for that one or that set that I know I have somewhere and need in a hurry... There are some buttons that tell stories of wear. There are some that only suggest their histories and leave the door wide open for me to make up my own settings and situations... Old buttons embellish so well as was their original purpose.

There's also the therapeutic aspect of sorting by color or by material or by size or by subject.... It's like completing a crossword puzzle or writing and then checking thing things off a list. Making order of chaos no matter how small the upheaval feels good and is grounding and is reassuring somehow. 

Maybe that's why so many of us collect things. Because collecting implies intentional gathering and requires some kind of acknowledgement of like similar and dissimilar objects which implies order, even if collections are not kept in any kind of specific order at all.
Anyway, I like buttons and I have a lot of them and I use them frequently for all kinds of things...
What do you collect?


  1. I didn't know you collected buttons!!! I just sent them to you thinking you *might* think they were cool, how neat! I feel the same way, I think the inside of old buttons are even neater than the outside, don't you? I'm so happy that you love them!
    So I collect almost everything. If I think something is interesting, I collect it, unintentional or not, even if it's just three of them. I have always collected rocks and coins, my favorite being heart shaped rocks (of which I have the single greatest one on the planet!), I also collect purses which is a guilty pleasure. I collect every shiny thing I see on the ground (something I inherited from my mother which is great because every day is a treasure hunt!), I usually use them for art after years of collecting. I also collect a certain stuffed animal (even though I play it off like "Phoenix" is collecting them, it's really my problem). It's a Gund Snuffles, which was my favorite bear when I was young (I still have the original) and I started buying them in every size when I found out I was pregnant. I also collect Tim Burton paraphernalia. I collect tattoos and antique (real or not) tin advertising signs. And my biggest collection is anything Tori Amos. That collection is sick, but is my most special collection. And strangely, I collect containers, like organizing things or Snapware or something. If it's different than what I have, I need to have it. I'm an organizing freak. I also collect anything that says Las Vegas on it. Love the question, who doesn't like to talk about their collections?!?!

  2. Hey Caline, I have an idea! How about you throw your "new" buttons in a rock tumbler with a mix of gritty sand and salt water for a week and see if they come out cool! If you don't have one, I have a 1 pound tumbler (of course, right?), you can send them up and I'll try it for you. Might be neat!
    If you want, I can try some out as a test first (I have oodles of plastic buttons from various shirts/dresses/ect, I can't throw them away either!). I'm interested to see what happens too!

  3. BTW, LOVE the "#2" book! The strands of old jewelry are fantastic!