For Today. . .

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Time Has Come

The time has come for me to downsize my button collection. I have decided to keep my favorites and sell the rest. My favorites are glass, china, and shell.
That means some other, lovely buttons and I are parting ways.

It does make me sad, but since my Aunt died, I have not had the same joy and fun with buttons. There is no club here and it seems that retired life is not becoming a time for sitting down and just spending time with some favorite projects.

So, my little friends, I am hoping for a good home for you.  It is a bittersweet time.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Far Greater Designer.

A "carved pearl". Ordinary, but extraordinary! No beach-comber has ever found anything like this obviously designed and executed button. It is the product of a talented artist! Just the right shell was chosen and this piece was formed -- attractive to the eye, but with a utilitarian purpose.  Do you wonder (as I do) how many attempts were made before this item was completed without any chips or gouges? Personally, I admire the precision and the creativity of the artisan who designed this. While it doesn't have a great deal of monetary value, it still deserves admiration -- and a second glance if nothing more. I wish you could hold this in your hand, tilt it in the light, and enjoy the riot of color that appears before your eyes!

The shell buttons are among my favorites because they are natural materials. I also like them because I can imagine such items before they were touched by a human hand --  products of a far greater designer, after all.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Land That I Love

Today is FLAG DAY, so here we fly the stars and stripes in honor of our country and the foundations once laid down for us. I see this as a day for remembering.

Here, from the Mayflower Compact, are words that stir my heart and soul:

"In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord, King James, by the Grace of God, of England, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, e&. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia; do by these presents, solemnly and mutually in the Presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid; And by Virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the General good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience." 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Where One Might Wish To Stay

Among my favorites are the beautiful picture buttons from years gone by. These beauties always pique my imagination and cause me to wonder about the significance to the artist of a creation such as this one.

This is a serene scene: a simple cottage nestled among the trees on the edge of a rippling brook. Here, a footbridge spans the water and links one bank to the other.

It is a welcoming picture. It is charming and delightful. Can you not imagine a couple strolling along the banks, across the bridge, and into a meadow where the wildflowers erupt with color and the air is filled with the sweet melody of the birds?

Yes, on the one hand this is only a button, but it is also so much more. In a pleasant way, it evokes visions of a sheltered place away from the frantic pace of the city, where one can breathe deeply of the fresh air and smell the sweet grass or freshly mown hay. It is a place of peace, and a place to contemplate the glories that God has provided for us to enjoy.

This is a place where one might wish to stay for a lifetime, or -- if only a visitor -- return often.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Procession of a Daimyo

This is another fabulous button, a very large (nearly 2 inches) Satsuma with a lavish amount of gold in the design. It is a button that is certain to arrest the viewer's attention.

I searched in vain to find another like it online. My thought: "What is the story being depicted here?"  So I posted my question to the online Buttonbytes group and, as is most often the case, someone was able to answer the question.

A member named Laurie provided this fascinating bit of history:

"Amazing button! This is the procession of a daimyo (a feudal lord) traveling from his domain to Edo (the seat of government, present-day Tokyo) with his household and retainers.

"In Japan in the Edo period, the daimyo were all required to spend alternate years in Edo so the shogun could keep an eye on them. Since Satsumas were made no earlier than the Meiji period, this would be a reference to earlier times."

How difficult this must have been to live in such an oppresive regime and to root up the whole family to temporarily relocate to a different community every other year, leaving one's home behind -- and, perhaps vulnerable! I know the feeling of being uprooted from the comforts of home and it was a major time of adjustment for me. Of course, career military people and others move frequently. They take it for granted. As for me, I like to be settled. Where is my sense of adventure?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My Aunt Knew How!

This is an unsigned collector's or studio button, a monochromatic transfer on porcelain. This one is in my favorite color, but there is more here than meets the eye.

Why did my aunt have this button in her collection? I'm sure it was attractive to her artistically, but there was more to it than that. This button reminds me of the most important thing that I know about my aunt: her faith and the object of her faith.

My aunt was a loving wife and mother, a cherished daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend. But of all her relationships, the most important to her was her personal friendship with God. She was a Christian first -- and I understand that. So am I.

Maybe the most important thing her life of faith taught me was how to die. From the time she was diagnosed with terminal cancer until the moment she drew her last breath, she demonstrated to her loved ones how to face death with grace and how to embrace eternity. The idea of death isn't necessarily a popular topic, but the strength and courage that I saw in my aunt was amazing. She had no bitterness, she didn't ask "why me?"

My professional life was spent mostly in hospitals. And during those decades, I was exposed to the joys of childbirth, the heart break of ill health, and the fragility of life. People face their final moments in different ways -- some with fear and some with grace and hope. 

I firmly believe that the most important task in life is finding out how to die. My aunt knew how!

Monday, May 24, 2010

An Art Form on An Art Form

Every once in awhile we open a box of buttons or pick up a card with a gasp and our hearts skip a beat. That is exactly what happened this past Tuesday when I went to my cousin's house to look at more of "Auntie's Buttons".

This Satsuma is big and beautiful, and in mint or near-mint condition. (I see no flaws). And the gasp was well-founded, according to what I have been able to find out. The picture here is of a Japanese woman doing a floral arrangement (Ikebana). Maybe chrysanthemums?

The discovery of this button on a card of wonderful Satsumas led to quite a quandry for me. The question was, "how do I price a button like this?"  In this case I found something similar and just "winged it". Then somebody emailed me and said, "I bought this one 2-3 years ago for. . . and it is my most expensive button. . . " She had paid about $25 more than what I had decided, so I guessed fairly well (this time).

I love this picture button because to me it is an art form on an art form, something to be appreciated and cherished. Now the question is, "where will she make her home now that she is leaving my aunt's collection?"

There is always a bittersweet emotion associated with selling one of my aunt's nicer buttons. She built her collection when buttons were found scouring attics, frequenting flea markets, and pounding the streets. It took her (and people she loved) 40 years or so to accumulate the glorious buttons she had. The button hunt began for her before she ever saw a television show and before eBay was even a thought in someone's mind. She got her buttons the hard way and I have a great deal of respect for what that must have involved.