Monday, May 2, 2011

Not Buttons

Some of you may know about and indeed share my passion for, OK obsession with vintage buttons. I have a fantastic and extensive collection of old buttons that I sorted by color, material, number of holes. Yeah, it's serious.

I buy jars of mixed buttons at thrift shops and yard sales. When I need some meditative time, I'll pour a jar out on the table and spend a few hours sorting the buttons.

Along with the buttons there are often other objects mixed in. I keep these items too, I think of them as "not buttons". I recently snapped a picture of them which sparked interest among my Flickr friends.

My friend, JunkCulture suggested I do a photo series called Not Buttons and I loved the idea so here is the beginning of that project! All images taken with iPod Touch and the Hipstamatic App.


  1. ahh I love this! I once bought a big bag of vintage "beads" that was actually mostly buttons and non beads lol but it was fun to keep finding the random stuff in the pile!

  2. Beautiful array of "not buttons"! I love your collection of buttons! I understand the meditative quality of playing with buttons. There is something so satisfying about running your hands through a box of buttons. I am the same way with beach glass.

  3. Very creative and inspired.. I like the randomness of the very organized subject matter.
    I cant get my hipstamatic pics to come out this cool. Whats your secret?!

  4. Love it! Finding art in the mundane. I hadn't thought of button sorting like a meditative practice but I agree that it would be. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I love stuff like this. You should add these pics to that collections group on Flickr, I forget the official name, but these would be perfect.
    I understand the meditative aspect. I just ordered a bag of fabric scraps for various projects and really enjoyed sorting them by color (I'm not OCD, I promise). :)

  6. Fabulous! Even better than I envisioned!

  7. these are great! i sort mine by color, but not amount of holes,lol ;)
    that may be my next step.
    there are a few flickr button groups i belong to-can't get enough buttons :)

  8. I'm a button nutt too! :-) I like all the colors of your "Not" buttons too! :-)

  9. Love the photos, but what are those in the last picture?

  10. Danielle - Right? Fun to discover what's in the mix :)

    Jane - Yes! Beach glass too, excellent :)

    Athena - Thanks! I don't know, I experiment A LOT with Hipstamatic, trying all the different combos of lenses, films and flashes.

    Leslie - Yep, nothing soothes my busy mind more than button (and non-button) sorting.

    My Hideaway - Ooh fabric scraps! I have those too :) I do have mild OCD, that's a big part of the allure of these sorting tasks :)

    Junkculture - YAY!! Delighted to hear that, thanks so much for the idea!

    andrea creates - I only sort them by hole number when I have too many of one color. But it's also tremendously helpful when I'm using the buttons in production and I need to quickly find a certain kind.

    PoetessWug - Thanks! Cheers to button nuts :)

    mimi - Thanks! They are mostly little glass tiles, and 2 ceramic ones!

  11. Very cool! I love the hooks... they look like little medieval torture devices. Wait...that sounds crazy. I don't love torture devices.

  12. Thanks for fixing my computer so I could see this beautiful blog post.

    You have an amazing collection of buttons. It is wonderful to watch you sorting them.

    The 'Not Buttons' collection is true art.

  13. I too love vintage buttons and have a whole bunch of them. I save every extra button that comes with clothing in a little drawer, that's not full. Love your not button collection too. :)

  14. Oooh, buttons. I love to sort the polymer buttons I make, but I like your way, too. I didn't even *think* of doing it with vintage buttons. Fun :-)

  15. ha! I was just sorting through my vintage button collection, lol! My favs are the carved shell ones, but your "not buttons" are even better!

  16. Lots of cool stuff, the fun is in the looking and sorting..........Doesn't matter if they are put to use, practical or otherwise !