Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Is It Art?

A trip to a local thrift shop almost always uncovers a treasurer, and today’s trip was certainly not a disappointment. It wasn’t a significant purchase in either dollars or importance. It was simply a round ball with buttons pinned to it.

The pins were fairly new, with round, colored heads and there were two bows made of vintage cloth at the top. It had a big red button on it, and I’ve been looking for just the right big red vintage button. The price was $1.99 so in my cart it went.

This evening I pulled it out of the bag intending to remove all those pins and buttons, but something made me stop and take a closer look.

Someone took a lot of time to pin all those old buttons to a Styrofoam ball. I assume it was made to be decorative. Were the buttons from someone’s collection, or their mother’s or grandmother’s collection? Was this a “memory ball”? The fabric bows were definitely vintage, possibly 40s. But the base was much newer. What is the story behind this treasure?

I’m a victim of the Antiques Road Show. I keep thinking that some day I’m going to stop at a thrift store and pick up an amazing treasure for almost nothing. Well, this button ball isn’t that treasure. The buttons alone are worth more than the price I paid. But it definitely isn’t a valuable treasure. What it is, or at least in my mind, is a piece of sewing folk art. Quilts that I find often talk to me, and this ball of buttons is talking to me. Saying, don’t take me apart. I’m pretty; I’m special.

So it’s going on the shelf with my other sewing collectibles. And I’m still searching for the big red button.

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