Sunday, January 27, 2013

Holocaust Memorial Day

Holocaust Memorial Day (27th January) is a national event in the UK dedicated to the remembrance of the victims of The Holocaust. First held in January 2001, it has been on the same date, every year since. 
This date is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp by the Soviet Union
in 1945 and the date also chosen for the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

via Flickr here

in Peoria Illinois, a few years ago and what I read and the photos I saw, took my breath away.

via Flickr here

The Holocaust Memorial is a community-based effort coordinated through the Jewish Federation of Peoria, and is a lasting educational memorial dedicated to the six million Jews and the five million 'enemies of the state' murdered during the Holocaust. The Projects mission, is to teach the lessons and consequences of intolerance, prejudice and hatred, with the hope that everyone who visits this memorial, gains a better understanding about the importance of tolerance and respect for all people.

The visual image the group selected to use, was a simple button, which was chosen to represent each life because of their circular shape reminding us of the cycle of life. Buttons are also enduring - they last long after garments have faded and unraveled to remind us of the past.

The memorial contains a staggering 11 millions buttons - some big, some small, some fancy and some plain and provides a visual representation of what is too startling and too staggering for the mind or heart to comprehend. Two years of hard work, by a dedicated core of volunteers who co-ordinated the collection of buttons and the funds, from all over the world, resulted in this unique glass memorial sculpture.

Six million buttons, representing the 6 million Jews who died, are encased in 18 glass columns
in the shape of the Star of David. Eighteen is symbolic in Judaism for the word “Chai"' which means life. The two rows symbolize the concentration camp selection process, which indicated whether someone would live or die. 

Five triangles represent the 5 million 'enemies of the state' who also died, including political and religious leaders, Roma gypsies, Serbians, Catholics, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Trade Unionists, alcoholics and the disabled. Each targeted group wore a different colored triangle to identify their 'enemy' status.

The group received an overwhelming response to this memorial, as it offers a place to learn, to share,
 to reflect and to remember. The thirst for knowledge, tolerance and respect grows, and is the foundation
of making sure a tragedy like this never happens again.

The Project still needs your help to make a difference! They need additional funds to provide
educational materials, updates of visual and written displays, and ongoing maintenance of the exhibit.
Your donation will help this memorial become an important means of teaching compassion
for all human life. For more information, please contact the: Jewish Federation of Peoria,
2000 Pioneer Parkway, Suite 10B, Peoria, IL 61615 or at 309/689-0063

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Anne Quadflieg

Based in Hamburg, German illustrator, Anne Quadflieg, illustrates for a variety of newspapers, magazine and agencies around the globe. Her quirky and humorous illustrations caught my eye as soon as I saw that she's obviously a fellow button enthusiast!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Searching for Dorset Buttons

I have always been fascinated by Dorset Buttons - they are beautifully delicate and hark back to an industry long since gone, but thankfully Shaftesbury Abbey Museum is hoping
to change that. They are currently researching the history of this once hugely important Dorset craft industry and hope to revive Dorset Button making, by forming a local co-operative for the benefit of the area.

The Dorset Button Industry started in Shaftesbury in the 1620s by Abraham Case and became a major cottage industry throughout Dorset, creating employment and income for many families. By the 1780s approx 4,000 men, women and children were worked in the industry. 

Dorset Knob Button via Henrys Buttons

Dorset Buttons are woven thread buttons: originally thread was wrapped around a ring
of sheep’s horn but this was replaced in the 18th century with a metal ring. The early buttons were called ‘high tops’ and ‘dorset knobs’, and by the mid to late 1600s,
over 31 different styles of buttons were being made.
Birds Eyes Buttons via Henrys Buttons
The handmade dorset button industry collapsed with the introduction of button making machines in the 1850s, which were first displayed at the Great Exhibition of 1851.
revolutionary industrial process was devastating for the Dorset Button Industry -
caused mass unemployment and extreme hardship, whereby the British government funded the emigration of hundreds of families to Australia and Canada,
and in turn, a uniquely British craft was lost.

Singleton Buttons via Henrys Buttons

So, the question is - can you help? One of the aims of Shaftesbury Abbey Museum
is to create a directory of all organisations and individuals that hold collections of Dorset Buttons.
The Dorset museums have collections, as do the Museum of London and
the V&A but if you have, or know of a collection, then do please contact
Annabel Turner, from
Shaftesbury Abbey Museum here.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

New York City Garment District

I recently came across these beautiful little watercolour paintings by Shirley
from Paper and Threads. I love everything about them; from the delicate watercolour

to the spidery handwriting looping around the drawings.

"Last Saturday I spent the day between the New York City Garment District and Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) with my new friend & fellow EDM member Paula.  She is from Brazil and currently studying at Columbia. I have walked past the Garment District sculptures at 40th & 7th Ave many times, but on Saturday joined Paula in taking a few pictures of the large button, needle, and garment worker. It sometimes takes new eyes to make you see something that is so familiar! I thought that I would include it as another sketch for the Button challenge."

"I have 100s of buttons in my studio from my many, many years of sewing. When we lived in Texas I bought an old English oak button cabinet to use as a side table, and the buttons that I sketched tonight were some of the lovely metal buttons that came with that table. Each one has a very intricate design, regardless of how small. The two largest buttons in this group are 3/4 inch and the smallest is 1/2."

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Moschino Tutu for English National Ballet

In June 2011, English National Ballet took over one of London’s most glorious outdoor settings, The Orangery in Kensington Palace Gardens, for an evening of breathtaking ballet,
fabulous fashion and fundraising.

Fernanda Oliveira, a Senior Principal Dancer at English National Ballet

To mark the event, English National Ballet invited Moschino amongst other designers
to create tutus or ballet inspired dresses. These wonderful creations were auctioned live
on the night and for this occasion, Moschino designed a tutu inspired by the quintessentially British ‘Pearly Kings & Queens’. The tutu is black and embellished heavily with
Mother of Pearl buttons to create a stunning, intricate pattern incorporating the
iconic Moschino symbols: M for Moschino, the heart and the peace symbol. 

Events like this form an integral part of fundraising activity; helping to sustain the vibrant life of English National Ballet and supporting their renowned learning and outreach work and enabling them to deliver world-class ballet to the nation.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


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