Saturday, February 23, 2013

Buttons 2

I have three big vases full of buttons, finding the right one is not easy. The best way to find it immediately is to display all of them.
In case I need one of these, I'll just remove it and sew another in it's place in no time.

Before Jeanne left for South Africa, her native land, she gave me this doll. It has a metal ring on its neck like long-necked Ndebele women, very expressive mouthless face and a bright beaded "frock". 

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Some time ago I visited a stunning Tudor period  exhibition in the Kremlin, Moscow.  It happens all the time, that after I saw something beautiful, I want to try making it myself not to replicate, but to find out how it was sewn/ embroidered/quilted and assembled. This time I was attracted by tiny little
knotted buttons and started searching for the techniques on the Internet. The one very peculiar kind of buttons exists in the Netherlands and it is a part of a long tradition I didn't know about. The photo is taken from the Belgian knitting blog, there are other  colourful photographs explaining the process.

Mandalas and temari balls that have become popular lately, have the same idea of creating a pattern by interweaving threads either silk or wollen, some ancient buttons were made the same way, only they were much smaller.
Another interesting twist in the use of this favourite embellishment- London Cockney Pearly King or Queen costume known since Victorian times.   The costumes are decorated with hundreds of mother-of pearl buttons. Here is the photograph I took from the uniquebuttonjewelry site

Lots of amazing photographs of this London Cockney tradition


Among all non-wovens  that have been  introduced recently, Lutradur is  the most popular. It has a couple of very useful qualities except for being perfectly sew-able. It can be burnt nicely with very little health hazards (they say, but they always forget to mention that it shouldn't be covered with paint before burning, paints stink ). I have tried two paints so far- Marabu textile paints both regular and metallic and artists acrylic paints. To  reduce transparency in some places I applied gesso, but the same result could be achieved by simply applying thicker layers of acrylic paint. The comparison between the two paints mentioned above showed that Marabu looks nicer and penetrates into the fibres better. Sadly, it costs much more)). The thicker the layer of  paint, the longer it takes to burn through, and the colour of the paints gets darker as with Tyvek.

To have control over the burning process it is easier not to place the sheet of Lutradur on the ceramic tile as recommended, but to hold it in hands. In this case Lutradur is better be stretched inside some wire frame. I was too lazy to make one and used embroidery hoops. Holding the hoop against the light I could control the process better especially when I made  random holes. Just heated the soldering iron to the desired temperature and punched the stretched sheet of Lutradur. The hotter the iron the better are the edges of the holes. The tip of the soldering tool is round, pencil-like in this case.
To cut long lines in Lutradur another tip was used.
The other piece is painted with acrylic paint, the upper part was first covered with gesso to add colour
The piece was punched with hot soldering iron and then treated with heat gun. I think it should be burnt more but I am afraid that it will start bulging.