we live amidst buttons, thousands of them, tens of thousands.
And we make more every day.
What Comes First?
To the proverbial question of what comes first, the chicken or the egg, our answer is both. – Chickens: Sometimes projects come first and we design buttons to fit them. – Eggs: Other times we make buttons with no project in mind.
We do actually have buttons that look like chickens, but really what I mean is that sometimes the chicken comes first, and we are challenged to create a button to fit someone else’s vision. You’ll find our buttons in lots of books, charts and kits. We create custom buttons for Art to Heart, PatchAbilities, Shepherd’s Bush and Quilt Company. We love hearing from designers because they encourage us to stretch our imagination. Countless times we have wondered how in the world to fill a special request, and yet we met the challenge–a camel, a drumming mouse, a flying reindeer…
What about the other buttons–the eggs? And yes, we do have egg buttons too, in farm fresh brown and a variety of Easter shades to please any bunny. But I’m talking eggs, as when the egg comes before the chicken and we have a fantastic idea for a new button, but need to show consumers how to use it. Sometimes we just feel the world needs more buttons–before there is any pattern in print that calls for them. It’s a safe bet that other button lovers can relate to the person who told me recently that she created an entire garment just to use a favorite button. I’ve done that–garments, embroideries, wall hangings, and soft sculptures. Seventeen years ago I went a step further and started with the idea of a button that would lead to the fabric project. I made bee and ladybug buttons from polymer clay, and then designed a silk ribbon embroidery garden for the bug buttons. That’s what I think of as the egg approach–make the button, then figure out what to do with it.
A Tribute to Grandma’s Button Box
It was the egg-first thing that led to our Button Box Collection. We tried to capture the worn character and dimension of old pearl buttons but with a whimsical twist. Each button was given an old-fashioned family name to recognize generations of stitchers before us.
Now what? The egg came first, and we needed to suggest how to use it. In addition to drilling the standard two holes for button stitching, we drilled a single hole on the edge of some of our favorite buttons, then glued in a stainless steel straight pin. Oooh, baby, we had a new way of using buttons as embellishment– Just Pins! The overwhelming response to our Just Pins made pincushions a logical next step. Pincushions are offered as patterns for stitchers who like to create from their stash and complete kits for those who like to sew on the go.
Next came a series of button embellished projects for sewing and cross stitching. Art to Heart licensed us to recreate their popular fabric applique in cross stitch – embellished with their licensed buttons of course.
And now, in 2014, we’ve begun production of a line of licensed buttons for Lizzie*Kate–a premier cross stitch designer! Look for licensed L*K buttons in classy new packaging in your local independent needlework shops.
A Related Adventure
Our button adventures expanded in 2013 to include the publication of a book about pincushions – co-authored with my daughter, Rachel Martin. Pincushion Appeal gave us the chance to create some larger projects and use interesting found and vintage objects in our designs. JABC offers embellishment packs for the book pincushions.
As we venture into the world of publication, we’ve added pincushion patterns for the designs we only offered as kits in the past. And now there is a new book, 7 Stitcheries with a Bit of Woodland Whimsy–offering button-embellished designs for embroidery. The Woodland Whimsy characters are also available as cross stitch, and coming soon, fabric applique.
Reaching Our Customers
Whether you are a wholesale or retail purchaser, Just Another Button Company now has an online shopping cart for you! If you’d like to read more about the hands behind the buttons, visit our Button Team page.
Cecile McPeak, Founder and Creative Director