I know how to sew on a button. I can even stitch a buttonhole. In 12 years of making jewelry, I never imagined I'd be using buttons in my work.
The idea came during my Czech bead tour in 2019. (You can read more about that here.) When Keith said that our next stop was going to be an antique shop I got excited. The shop was more American Pickers than antique. What in the world could I find in a place like this?
Combing through the dirty, packed shelves, I discovered these disks with an odd hole on the back. At first I thought the disks were designed to accommodate a pin for post earrings. It was instead, Keith explained, to accommodate the shank for a button.
The glass button industry in Jablonec dates from the 1820s. Sadly, it is a dying art. Modern clothes are designed for ease and comfort. Buttons don’t lend themselves to that, and Czech beads are of a high quality and so more expensive. Today just two brothers in their 70s make Czech buttons. When they are gone.... It makes me more determined to find new ways to use these beautiful works of art.
I brought these two types of buttons back and gave wrapping them shot. I’m pleased with the results. Because these are solid colors and have simple faceted too, I hand more options when choosing the seed beads to weave around them. The netting stitch that I uses opens as it encloses the beads, for unexpected flashes of colors as the earring moves with you.
The "new" button earrings are from one of my go to suppliers of all things Czech, Nirvana Beads. They carry a range of Czech buttons. Last month I just realized that they have some buttons without the shank. Perfect for wrapping. The patterns of the new buttons are very Art Nouveau and their colors are stunning. Because they have straight sides, for the most part, they stitch a little differently from the buttons that I found "picking" in the Czech Republic. For me, that is part of the charm and unique quality of handmade.