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Zauber der Zwirnknopfe (Magic of Thread Buttons)- a short review

Sabine KrumpI have just received my copy of the new book by Austrian button maker, Sabine Krump. Zauber der Zwirnknopfe (Magic of Thread Buttons) is a German language book, and my review will be based on the fact that I do not actually speak the language.

This book is, like Sabine's other books, a hardback and limited edition. It is 21cm square and 128 pages. Sabine's button books are an eclectic mix of stories, buttons, poems, photography - and this book is no exception.

At the beginning is a fairy tale. This is stunningly illustrated with silhouettes by the paper artist Lois Cordelia. They are lovely illustrations - they have movement and her treatment of button designs in silhouette is wonderful. These illustrations continue throughout the book and are perfect.

The book goes through some of the basics of button making - information that will be of most use to those who can read it, but also good for those of us doing research (it is always helpful to have search terms from other languages!).

The book also contains some background and history - Sabine does come from a family of button makers - as well as tradtional stories and musings.

Sabine includes instructions for 26 button designs. Some are her own designs, including a few basics to begin with, other are contributions (such as the Cherry Blossom button by Yoko Odaira of Japan, and my Hearts thread button). The instructions include photographs, and for most of the buttons, I do think that the photographs are clear enough to follow. You can see one of these in my One Button A Day - Day 35 - "The Apple Core Star" (der apfelkernstern). A few of the buttons might need a more experienced eye to work out some of the detail that is no doubt explained in the text, but on the whole I do feel that a non-German reader will be able to make at least most of the buttons.

The majority of these are Zwirnknopfe - ring buttons. Although they look similar to Dorset ring buttons they are made differently - essentially the spokes are laid first and any covering of the ring done later. (Dorset buttons have the rings covered first). Sabine also includes some thread wrapped buttons - including designs she has adapted by using a ring instead of a solid mould. 

This book is illustrated throughout - not only with the wonderful artwork from Lois Cordelia, but also of images of beautful buttons, including some with adotable kittens and cats! There are many wonderful variations of the ones that she shows step-by-step, so once you have mastered the basics, you could continue to experiment. So, even if you aren't inclined to try to make all of the buttons, it is a great 'coffee table' book - my husband enjoyed looking through it as well!

This book does not have an ISBN number and needs to be ordered (at the moment) directly through Sabine. The current cost is 26.90 Euros - plus postage. You can find out more by visiting her website (click here)

Day 21 already

One Button a Day 2016It is hard to believe that I'm now 21 days into the One Button a Day challenge! So far, I have to admit, it isn't really a challenge, except for the naming of the buttons.

In my DVDs and book, I went with the decision to name the buttons that I gave instructions for. The theory was that this would make it easier to refer to them in the future. And of course, some button designs do already have names, such as the Death Head and Dorset Crosswheel. So, I felt that I was keeping up a tradition. 

For this challenge, I felt it best to continue this. And actually, it is quite hard! I am treating it like the naming of art (particularly the ones that are my own designs). Some days I really do struggle to find a good name. Especially with the knowledge that that is it - if I publish instructions at a future date, there's no changing it. So, every morning, my first cup of coffee is spent with this challenge. 

One Button a Day 2016 buttons by Gina BarrettThe naming has also caused some issues amongst button collectors. Many of these don't know about passementerie buttons at all (they tend to all be named 'fabric', 'crochet' or 'worked' regardless), and naming one of my buttons with the word 'star' caused some comments. I still haven't found out why exactly, though other button collectors seemed to know. :) I think I have alot to learn.

I've been asked about instructions, and yes, there are plans to publish later on in the year. I'll also be posting up tutorials over the next couple of months for a few basic buttons. 

I know that many of you follow the One Button a Day postings on social media (I post to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Instagram each day), but what you may not know is that if you click through to the link you will come back to this website. Here, you can click through and find out more about a particular button - if it is based on an historical example for instance, or if it is a design I have already published. You'll also be given information on the materials used. 

Thanks so much to everyone who is following so far! On social media use the tag #onebuttonaday to find the images. Here's to the rest of the year! 

Happy New Year!

Minions buttons by Gina Barrett Here we are at the end of another year. Thank you so much for all of your support over the past year. Hopefully next year will be wonderful for each and every one of you.

Starting tomorrow, I'll be taking part in 'One Button a Day'. This great idea was started last year by Helene Weinold, who posted a picture every day of 2015 of a button she had made. (If you missed it, follow this link to her Facebook gallery). So, in 2016, it will be my turn.

I'm not setting myself any rules, except that I must make the button. I know as well as anyone that real life can get in the way, so I will not be making a button every day - some days I will probably make a few. This is especially true when I know that I'll be busy with shows or workshops. And, to be fair, sometimes making one button leads to another - I wouldn't want to have to wait when the inspiration strikes!

I will post the images - one a day - on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and of course here. There will be a new article category - One Button a Day 2016 where additional information about each button will be given, such as the size, materials, name (if any) source (if any) - that sort of thing. So, if you've seen the image on social media and want to know more, then do please stop by here! There will also be an image gallery over on my portfolio website.

Look out for the social media tags - #onebuttonaday and #onebuttonaday2016 and the short link to the section here -

And so, to get you in the mood and hopefully make you smile, here's a set of Minion buttons that I made for a Christmas gift this year...


I hope that you will all be able to join me in my Button a Day journey!

La Maison du Roy passementerie buttons

© Gabriele Mendela/La Maison du Roy and used with permission.For the past couple of years I have been working on buttons for a project that is coming together now, an exhibition of reconstructions of uniforms of La Maison du Roy (royal household) of Louis XIV to Louis XVI (1661-1792). Followers of my blog and facebook page will have seen some of these buttons as they've been created, but now I have the opportunity to show some of the wonderful uniform reconstructions they have been placed on.

These wonderful works of art have been researched and made by Gabriele Mendella. The work involved is immense, with real care and attention to detail. This has included not only the little things like buttons from me, but having velvet braid woven to original design by passementiers Sevinch. And as you can see from these images, he has really created some things of beauty!

As a uniform began to come together, Gabriele would get in touch for the buttons required. A nice variety of threads have been used, from tambours to flatworm, in gold, silver and gilts, as well as silk. Techniques used were primarily wrapping and weaving, along with the occasional bit of embroidery.

Silver passementerie buttons by Gina BarrettYou can see more images (of both buttons and the uniforms they have been placed on) over on my personal website by clicking here.

You can visit Gabriele's Facebook page, where images of other uniforms in the exhibition (including some stunning embroidery!) and research images have been posted by clicking here.

The exhibition opens in Milan on the 4th December 2015. All photos of completed uniforms © Gabriele Mendela/La Maison du Roy and used with permission. Other images © Gina Barrett


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