<![CDATA[Dorset Buttons - Blog]]>Sun, 13 Oct 2019 20:39:18 +0100Weebly<![CDATA[Dorset Buttons are not just for clothing]]>Wed, 11 Sep 2019 09:18:44 GMThttps://henrysbuttons.co.uk/dorsetbuttonblog/dorset-buttons-are-not-just-for-clothing
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I live in an area of outstanding natural beauty
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Wylye Valley Arts Trail. Two of my pieces now sold.
Over the years many people have asked not only why I make Dorset Buttons but also what do I do with them.

In May, I took part in the Wylye Valley Arts Trail. I decided it was time to demonstrate that Dorset Buttony is more than just a craft for supplying buttons for garments. For over six months, I worked on textile collage pieces which I had framed and hung in my new studio ready for viewing. For those who expected to see these buttons on items of clothing I also prepared examples on how handmade buttons can transform an outfit. 

Just prior to the event, I was asked by a journalist to answer a few questions about myself. Here are a couple of them with my answers:
How does your particular region of South Wiltshire inspire you?
I regard myself as very lucky as I live in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a place where I grew up. After working for fifteen years in London, I made the decision to leave and return to my roots, an area where I have always found peace and inspiration.

What will you be looking at during the Wylye Art Trail?
Opening my own studio will not give me much opportunity to visit other venues but if the opportunity arises, I always head straight for anyone who works in textiles. Whoever I visit, I always find inspiration from other creative people. That is why I enjoy exhibiting at the Cygnet Gallery in Shaftesbury.

What does the Wylye Art Trail mean to you?
The Wylye Valley Art Trail gives me the opportunity to show off my work in my own studio so people can see what I’m trying to do with turning a heritage craft into an art form. I look forward to meeting people and will be serving basic refreshments and hope visitors will engage and share the wonderful view I have from my studio.

I had a very successful week which was followed by another exhibition at the National Trust property at Stourhead, Wiltshire. Dorset Buttons are not just for fastening garments!
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<![CDATA[“Hiding not Lost” a picture in the making]]>Wed, 15 May 2019 09:44:28 GMThttps://henrysbuttons.co.uk/dorsetbuttonblog/hiding-not-lost-a-picture-in-the-making
As many of you may already have gathered I love working in the round on a large scale. My current project is no exception, although the ring size is 20cm smaller than some of my very large pieces. My challenge is how to interpret Spring based on a tree shape using all three of the Dorset Button designs worked on a ring.
To start with, I used linen thread for the outline of the tree and to work the trunk and branches. The linen thread is from Airedale Yarns who has the most wonderful selection of colours. Most of the linen is a 4ply weight and for this project I worked with four strands. I had great fun measuring out four times 12metres then wrapping it around a makeshift shuttle before working the button. I had to do this four times!
When I look out of my studio window, the lovely primroses are a joy so they too will have to be incorporated into my work. I have decided to use what I call the ‘Cartwheel’ button as it looks so like a cartwheel for the flower.
For the leaves of the tree, I’m working Singleton buttons using a stretch mainly green multi-coloured lace fabric over cotton fabric. By using this method, I have managed to give my tree the spring look of when you can see the sky through the leaves which are not quite open.
However, where to put the Blandford button which I call a Crosswheel as the thread is wound across the ring many times? I’m thinking that I may use them as blossom on my tree.
By the way, I have decided to give the finished work a humorous twist as the finished piece is going to be called “Hiding not lost” and you may be able to see the reason for the title in one of the images.  The finished work will be on display in my Studio as part of the Wylye Valley Art Trail.
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<![CDATA[When a well laid plan goes astray!]]>Sat, 02 Feb 2019 11:53:26 GMThttps://henrysbuttons.co.uk/dorsetbuttonblog/when-a-well-laid-plan-goes-astrayAt the beginning of January I was keen to get going on a new project that I had been mulling over for a number of weeks. When starting on any project I always take my time with deciding on colours and textures. So when the decision on which yarns and fabrics had been finalised and the construction details calculated I was eager to start.

All was going so well, then disaster. I fell and strained my right wrist. As I’m right handed my project was placed on one side until the pain subsided and my hand regained its strength!
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Whilst resting my right hand, and to be deterred, I tried using my left hand. Here are the results….

They are all worked on a 10cm ring using Wilton Carpet Factory yarn which I brought from their factory shop in the 1980s. I'm thinking of turning them into coaster.

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<![CDATA[My Button Studio]]>Mon, 31 Dec 2018 06:54:09 GMThttps://henrysbuttons.co.uk/dorsetbuttonblog/my-button-studioI expect many of you know what it’s like to work in a confined space where all your materials, threads or whatever your hobby may be are all in boxes which are piled high one on top of the other. And each time you want something it’s like moving house with the amount of boxes that have to be moved before finding the right one, which usually was at the bottom of the pile.
This was me when I decided to build my own studio. I made a list of all the things I wanted from my studio including the masses of shelf space, enough wall space to hang my large works, lots of work table space, good lighting, a coffee machine and toilet to name a few.
My husband, Patrick, and I earmarked a piece of land that fell between our house and garage for this new timber structured building. Building work started in June and I moved in earlier this month and friends joined us to celebrate this auspicious occasion.
Here are a few photos of the building work from its concept to my moving in.
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<![CDATA[Dorset Arts & Crafts Association Annual Exhibition 2018]]>Wed, 22 Aug 2018 09:05:52 GMThttps://henrysbuttons.co.uk/dorsetbuttonblog/dorset-arts-crafts-association-annual-exhibition-2018
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Detail from my winning entry "The Knitting Bee 2"
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Anna McDowell with Sally Weld, President of DACA, being presented with the Dorset Shield. Thank you to the DA&CA for allowing me share this photo.
​This Year was a first for me at the Dorset Arts & Crafts Association Exhibition. As I booked my Henry’s Buttons stand for all five days of this popular event. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and thank you all for your supported. I look forward to next year.
In addition I was also trilled with my entries to the Annual Exhibition. Each year I try and enter something in the Dorset Crafts section of this exhibition designed to support the many talented artists, photographers and craft workers in the county. 
I entered two pieces a collarge of Dorset Buttons called the Knitting Bee 2 and one of my Suffragette brooches worked from vintage thread and crystal beads. I was thrilled to have been awarded gold for my collarge and the award for my section, the Dorset Shield. My brooch was awarded silver. 
The Association has a long history. In 1906, a small exhibition was held at Hinton St Mary and its success led to the formation of the Dorset Arts & Crafts Association in 1907. The Association's first exhibition was held at Blandford Corn Exchange in 1907 and exhibitions have been held annually, apart from a break for the Second World War years. The Associations 100th Exhibition was held at the Purbeck School, Wareham in 2014.   
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<![CDATA[Larmer Tree Festival]]>Tue, 31 Jul 2018 09:18:48 GMThttps://henrysbuttons.co.uk/dorsetbuttonblog/larmer-tree-festival
The Larmer Tree Festival was only two weeks ago, and as promised, I have uploaded the instructions for my Suffragette Dorset Button just go to Worksheets and Tutorials
 
The weekend was a great success as seventy people choose to make these one of these Suffragette Buttons. The adult workshops system was the same as in previous years with people putting their names down for the craft of their choice. Tables were smaller with a maximum of 14 chairs instead of the 20 as in previous years, much easier to handle. I was joined by my niece Harriet Page who is an excellent buttoner and a skilled teacher.

On the Saturday and Sunday we started at 10.00am and we were kept constantly busy moving around the table showing people how to start making these buttons and finally seeing their finished Suffragette brooch. At 1.00pm our session ended. Over the two days 70 people had made one of these lovely brooches.

I have a limited quantity of the lovely yarn left over from the Festival so have made a simple kit with enough yarn and ribbon for you to have a go at making these small brooches designed specifically for the Larmer Tree Festival 2018.

If you are interested in having a go at making one of my Festival Suffragette Dorset Buttons I will be taking a limited quantity of these kits to the Dorset Arts and Crafts Annual exhibition at Wareham which runs from Friday 3rd August to Tuesday 7th August. For full details about the exhibition go to www.dorsetartsandcrafts.org
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<![CDATA[Suffragette Dorset Buttons]]>Sun, 29 Apr 2018 10:15:00 GMThttps://henrysbuttons.co.uk/dorsetbuttonblog/suffragette-dorset-buttons
It is one hundred years since those brave and determined members of the Suffragette Movement fought for the rights for which we enjoy today. I wanted to celebrate and thank the women and men for their outstanding contribution.
My challenge was how to do this with a Dorset Button? I wanted my buttons to have a vintage feel and my collection of vintage threads included the three Suffragette colours: a perfect white for purity, green for hope and purple for loyalty and dignity.
​So having got the threads, what to do next. I wanted to make my buttons special, something memorable that would celebrate this anniversary.
I’m an Antiques Roadshow fan and in one episode I remember seeing a wonderful brooch that a lady brought in to be identified and valued. It was a lovely filigree gold brooch set with precious stones of amethyst, emeralds and pearls, all Suffragette colours. For further inspiration, I searched the website and found similar fine delicate pieces to the brooch I remembered on the Roadshow.
So the challenge I set myself was to work a button in the suffragette colours using thread and beads and which will also have a filigree feel to it.
​Unfortunately, my budget didn’t run to such exquisite sparkles as amethyst, emeralds and pearls so I had to improvise and used crystal beads instead. This image is the result of my little experiment. Now all I have to do is to turn them into brooches ready to sell later this year.
Finally, I would like to thank all those women and men who fought for our rights so we can now have a say in todays’ political environment.
One hundred year ago ‘The Representation of the People Act 1918’ saw British women over 30 gain the vote; women over 21 did not get the vote until 1928.You can find out more about Women and the vote from  Parliament UK
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<![CDATA[A Snowbound Project]]>Sun, 01 Apr 2018 10:55:00 GMThttps://henrysbuttons.co.uk/dorsetbuttonblog/a-snowbound-project
​Dorset Buttony in the winter can be the best time to spend time experimenting and try out new ideas. Over the last few months I have done exactly that. With the March snow and being snowed in for a few days gave me the opportunity to try out turning my buttons into a necklace which incorporate felted balls which I managed to get from Blooming Felt (one of my favourite suppliers of felt). Here is my finished piece.
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<![CDATA[Landscape Magazine]]>Wed, 07 Feb 2018 12:37:15 GMThttps://henrysbuttons.co.uk/dorsetbuttonblog/landscape-magazinePicture
So thrilled with this article. 


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<![CDATA[Dorset Button Christmas Workshops - Hardy Visitor Centre]]>Wed, 20 Dec 2017 10:35:07 GMThttps://henrysbuttons.co.uk/dorsetbuttonblog/dorset-button-christmas-workshops-hardy-visitor-centre
Only a few days until we celebrate Christmas, we decorate our houses and spend many hours deciding on what gift to give to family and friends. The colours of Christmas are everywhere. The reds and greens; gold and silvers; and the lovely crisp whites for the snow that is meant to fall at Christmas but hasn’t for me since 1993!

Not to get despondent, this year I designed my Christmas Dorset Button for my December workshop around an icicle.  The Dorset Button was worked in a white and silver metallic thread with a single round of white voile ribbon finished with a droplet from a chandler.

Thank you all for participating and for your very kind comments on how much you enjoyed my workshop. And thank you to Claire and her team at the Hardy Visitor Centre for making us so welcome throughout the year.

Wishing you all Season’s greetings and a happy New Year.
Anna

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