Buttons for Art, Buttons for Craft

Button collectors try to keep their buttons intact, but they also welcome ways to enjoy using them in craft or art projects. For the Fall Show in 2017, Annie Frazier and Mary Jane Pozarycki sponsored three competitions. Members competed with buttons used in artwork, jewelry, and wearables. In this photo, Helene Plank (left) and Lorraine Grinka display their amazing creations. Buttons needed to be the key component.

The directions required that only craft quality buttons should be used if the process includes gluing or other permanent changes to the button.  “No collectible buttons should be used unless they are sewn or wired onto the piece. Shanks should not be removed from buttons.”  The awards were judged by popular vote with comments from the sponsors. The competitions were inspired by the success of the Button Art Contest held at the Florida show in January.  “Our thanks to Sylvia Durell who designed this contest.  Many people love to create with buttons and we would like to have them participate.”


Portrait of a Collector: Pat Wagner







Meet Pat Wagner, whose beautiful necklace earned second prize by popular vote in the Fall 2019 show. (We’re sorry we don’t have a good photo of Pat, but here is her necklace!) The competition was ‘right up her alley” because, in addition to 18thcentury and early 19th century  buttons, she has also bought and sold vintage clothing, jewelry, and beads.

Pat tells how, for 25 years, she worked on a farm raising race horses and going to auctions on the weekend. “In the late ‘80s I bought one of those small four-drawer chests, brimming full of buttons for $40. I spent the whole winter with the red book (the Big Book of Buttons). I still wasn’t a collector, just an accumulator. I didn’t belong to a club, didn’t compete. Then I met a collector. She went through every button I had and made piles. I didn’t know values, I didn’t know materials, I just  gave them to her. I have lots of regrets!” Though Pat has a transportation problem, she likes to collect antique clothing, beads – and 18th century and early 19th century buttons. But not on the internet. “I like to touch and feel. I try to find people who say they have their grandmother’s or great grandmother’s buttons. If they have their mother’s buttons I am not even interested.”