What a January. So much to do and so little time to do it in! After the festive week I started two Dorset Button projects and returned to writing my book on the history of Dorset Button. All was going well and I thought my New Year’s resolution was well on the way to being completed. But, as often happens, circumstances over took my well laid plans. And to crown it all just as I was ready to unveil my pie de resistance Dorset Button for Valentine’s Day I go and get the flu!
Not to be deterred here is the button that would have been displayed in the Cygnet Gallery in Shaftesbury, Dorset, ready for Valentine’s Day on the 14th February. I worked this button on a 26cm ring in a lovely Banana Yarn. The beads I found amongst my collection. The velvet ribbon, again from my collection, is a lovely vintage ribbon that I have been looking forward to working with.
I will still display this button in the Cygnet Gallery but have renamed it “I Love Dorset Buttons” from its original title “Be My Valentine”.
My second project will be ready in a couple of weeks so will keep you posted. But for now I can get my head down and continue writing.
For a bit of light relief I thought I would have a bit of fun with these earrings made from findings I found on EBay, my own 10mm silver look beads and a Dorset Button.
I worked the Dorset Button on a 16mm hollow brass ring using DMC stranded silver thread size 5#. I split the thread into two using four strands only to work the button. I don’t usually like working in stranded thread as I prefer to use twisted yarn, but I was hooked on this particular yarn as it was very easy to use, as can be seen from the button.
Hardy’s Birthplace Visitor centre is hosting another of its very popular Dorset Button creative workshop on Monday 18th April 10am till 12:30
Learn a traditional Dorset craft in the lovely woodland setting which inspired the writer Thomas Hardy.
This workshop will be run by Anna McDowell (from Henrys Buttons) who will share her creative flare with attendees to create their own traditional Dorset Buttons. The Dorset Button ‘cottage’ industry affected the lives of hundreds of families in Dorset for more than 200 years. Like a number of heritage crafts and skills, designs were passed down from generation to generation.
Anna’s workshop will see those traditional skills yet again passed around our community and you will create unique buttons in the comfort of a modern, spacious visitor centre with lots of natural light.
Anna was commissioned to create the buttons for Bathsheba (Carey Mulligan ) dresses in the latest adaptation of Far from the Madding Crowd. Using original methods Anna combines contemporary materials and designs to help keep the tradition of Dorset Buttons alive.
Set 3 miles east from Dorchester with an independent Café serving lunches and refreshments, free parking and wonderful setting let your creativity flow at Hardy’s Birthplace Visitor Centre.
Workshop Price: £13.00 to include morning coffee plus £1:00 for materials direct to Anna
Spaces limited so Please book 01305 251228 or email@example.com
Workshop location: Hardy’s Birthplace Visitor Centre DT2 8QH
Café details can be found at www.facebook.com/underthegreenwoodtreecafe/info/?tab=overview
Photo from Henrys Buttons http://www.henrysbuttons.co.uk/index.html
Hardy’s Birthplace Visitor Centre www.dorsetforyou.com/article/416992/Visiting-Hardys-Birthplace
I designed this Dorset Button to symbolize the Dementia Friends symbol the For-get-me-knot. Apparently it will be used as a symbol for participants in Shaftesbury’s commitment to make Shaftesbury a dementia friendly town.
Being a Dementia Friend is about having an understanding of dementia and the small things we can all do that can make a difference to people living with dementia.
As part of the National Dementia Friendly Community initiative, Cedars Castle Hill in partnership with The Westminster Memorial Hospital Shaftesbury are working towards Shaftesbury becoming a dementia-friendly community to help people living with dementia feel included, understood, respected, supported and confident they can contribute to community life.
to book The Shaftesbury Snowdrop Festival starts on Saturday 13th February with many events organised by different groups from in and around Shaftesbury. As Shaftesbury is the birthplace of the Dorset Button industry and I have agreed to take two Dorset Buttons workshops. The challenge was to make a Dorset Button aimed at beginners that reflected the Snowdrop. I came up with two ideas one based on the Cartwheel and worked in two colour threads the other, a Singleton, with an image of a snowdrop.
Here is an image of my ideas.
Shaftesbury Snowdrop Festival for details of all events and Shaftesbury Arts Centre
Each year I set myself small challenges to improve my Dorset Buttony skills. In August I was lucky to have won the Dorset Shield at the Dorset Arts and Crafts Annual exhibition which was a great boost to my morale. The Shield was for six buttons worked in the Dorset Cartwheel design on 19mm hollow brass rings using Turkish Polyester thread. I also included the daisy stitch. But what to do next, and in which area should I now concentrate on practicing my skills?
In the August edition of this eNewsletter, I opened with an article on the buttons thought to be the first in the Dorset Button range, High Tops. I have since developed worksheets and taken workshops for these lovely buttons. But I became fascinated on where and how Abraham Case first thought of developing a cone shaped button? It was whilst searching for an image of an early man’s doublet that I discovered this image from the Metropolitan Museum in New York. This doublet is dated 1580 and the country of origin is European and made from silk, metallic thread and brass. What struck me at once were the buttons. On closer inspection, it appears that the buttons are made from a wood cone shape covered in fabric and then embroidered around. The potential of these exquisite buttons worked in gold thread may well have been seen by Abraham and hence the similarity between the High Tops and these early examples.
In the August edition of the eNewsletter I asked if anyone was interested in developing a High Top button using contemporary threads. The offer is still open.
I wish you every success in 2016 and look forward to hearing about your own Dorset Button Projects.