the beauty of old buttons…

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10/11/2010 by Sarah Ritchie

New York Trims StoreIn Manhatten, New York, there is at least one store devoted to selling only buttons and trims (pictured left). With our small population – here in New Zealand – buttons usually get relegated to a forgotten corner of a sewing shop. I have never before seen so many buttons in one place! I stood outside the shop thinking how much my mother (an expert seamstress) would have LOVED to have perused the shelves and marvelled at the exquisite selection.

As I gaze around my people-packed commuter train, the modern attire seems to boast a noticeable lack of buttons, and the buttons that I do see are functional and unremarkable. I remember the buttons that were in my mother’s old trim jars…mother of pearl, diamante, glass, metal (some dating back to the early 20th Century)…so many colours, sizes and shapes. The most beautiful buttons were some of the oldest ones.

Button Cross Sonya YoungFor 2.5 years prior to my mother’s passing, she was bedridden. There was very little we could give her or do for her that could bring any joy. One day Simon found her a special gift. When I saw it, I cried because it was so beautiful and so perfect. It was a cross (pictured right), by New Zealand craftsperson Sonya Young. The cross is full of beautiful vintage buttons and a few beads. It reminded me so much of the buttons my eyes feasted upon as a child, in those old button jars. When Mum saw the cross, she beamed. All the money in the world couldn’t buy her comfort or pleasure, but that simple, beautiful button-filled cross brought her joy. Very special.


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