Monday, February 21, 2011

Bone Button Monday

Dem bones, dem bones, dem bone buttons. 

They might be a little creepy to some people, but I love them.  Bone was one of the, if not the, first materials for buttons.  It's easy to imagine early man carving these practical fasteners out of the bones of his kill.  They're reminders of a time when nothing went to waste.  When more sophisticated materials came in to popularity, they became the ornamentation of common people and peasants.

I relate to and celebrate their history and I appreciate their aesthetic also.  Creamy colors, obviously handmade details, and a weight different from plastic.

Some were dyed and achieved a beautiful brown color, not unlike wood.

Most were carved and drilled by hand.  This lovely below just shouts "handmade" and I can't help but wonder, by whom?

These with the bump on the back were likely turned on a lathe.

Historically, women would dye buttons using a variety of dyes.  I tried an overnight soaking in strong tea on these.  Below on the left is the  tea-stained buttons and on the right were the buttons pre-tea.  (the X button is an undyed button that slipped in)  The result is really subtle.

It was sarahracha's work that I featured the other day that inspired me to make myself a necklace.  I wore it while mopping.  (just for you, Marilyn)

Since I had all the materials out, I decided to make a few for my shop too. 

Natural and filled with history.  Just the kind of things I like to carry with me.

Happy Monday all!

16 comments: said...

LOVE both necklaces! You're on it, sister, for the pure simplicity of Spring.

jessica said...

I love everything about these. I ordered the red one!

Mona said...

Love bone buttons too - the necklaces are ... uhm ... extraordinaire!
I wonder what kind of dye is used for the browmish ones. Do you know?

Scrapiana said...

I love old bone buttons, Lisa. I do find some of them eerie, though. Those smooth, unridged ones with the big holes remind me of sad little faces from some kind of Tim Burton animation. But they're a fascinating glimpse of the pre-plastic age. Thanks for sharing.

Lisa at lil fish studios said...

Thanks so much, everybody!

Mona - I don't know exactly what they used. I've read references to tea but I'm sure this was something stronger. I thought of using black walnuts, when I can gather them next fall, and see how that works.

Scrapiana - ah yes! The underwear buttons! I find some of those with the original straps still threaded through them. They are cool.

Lisa said...

I have always loved bone buttons and never thought of their origins - matter I still love them and mabe a little more because of their history.
Lisa did you do it on purpose or do you realize that your shop does not have a link to your extras shop(which does link back to your other shop). I am an avid etsy explorer and love to go to other shops from the same owner..and am really looking forward to my button bag this week!

Lisa at lil fish studios said...

Lisa - a lot of the bone buttons we find are cow bones but I've read that you can also find, though rarely, ivory and antler as well. I think that's kind of cool. Thank you for the heads up on my shop link, too. Off to fix it now.

vesna said...

so lovely!

NanaBeast said...

I really like the brown bone button necklace. I am not much of a jewelry wearer-I love buying it for others-but I can see myself wearing that one. I am looking forward to the outcome of your black walnut experiment.

Marilyn said...

hello, you floor mopping, civil war button necklace wearing lady, you!! I actually have some bone buttons too!! No, not civil war ones, but some from Alaska that a friend bought me, when she was there a few years if I can find the right thread...I'll be mopping my floors with my bone button necklace on too!!
That brown one up there is GORgeous!!!
Have a good day sweet lady...

umelecky said...

Hi Lisa.
I have some of those buttons in my collection and never knew what they were. Thanks for the info!

t does wool said...

Did you say buttons ;)
beautiful Lisa.Love

Tara said...

I have a new found appreciation for bone buttons, thanks to this post, Lisa. Love the new necklaces too.

Anonymous said...

Oh my bones!

I happen to have some of those creamy/yellowy, two-holed bone buttons,

I never knew that it was bone!

I hope they be animal bones.


lynda Howells said...

ohl love bone buttons..l want them! hax have a thing about can never have enough...thanks for sharing them with usxxlynda

Anonymous said...

I just love these bone buttons!
Have some here at home that I cherish...

The necklaces you made are beautiful!
Really love the creamy one on the first picture ;)


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