My first introduction to Buttons To Go was at the recent Toorak French Affaire event which I attended. The items at the stall struck a chord with me. They were displayed well, colourful, functional and well priced. Above all, I thought there was an air of artistry about them. I was even more impressed when I found out that the designs were made from vintage, retro and aged buttons mixed in with the more modern ones in some pieces.
Chatting to Carole the creative lady behind the business, this is a bit of a sea change from the regular job in administration she's been in all her life till a couple of years ago. However, she's always adored craftwork from the time she was a young girl. Something instilled in her by her grandmother.
Light paperweights - my favourite on the right closest to the camera
It was the days of the treadle sewing machine and Carole was always around her grandmother as she crafted, working with patchwork materials. Carole followed suit and used to knit and do patchwork among many other crafty pursuits. Buttons were always her passion and she's collected them all her life. She started making headbands for her grand-daughters and brooches for her friends and that was the beginning of her maturation towards Buttons To Go.
Between inheriting lots of buttons over the years and now a collector herself, Carole started by having a friend who is a pure button collector, sort through her collection. Her buttons were given more meaning when she knew their age and the year they were created. Having decided to do markets two years ago, Carole started buying her vintage and aged buttons through other collectors who were de-stashing, and through some Facebook, New Zealand and Queensland aged and vintage sites. She never buys from further afield as she likes to make sure she's getting the genuine article.
In search of these little treasures, migrating to Op Shops and vintage shops is no surprise, traipsing along the hunting grounds of Ballarat, Daylesford, Bendigo and Geelong. Carole herself is based in Shepparton and covers markets like the Kensington Artists Markets and the Castlemaine Artists Market. She also has some of her wares on consignment in a Castlemaine shop. Her next market will be at the Ivahoe Makers Market and the Kensington Artists Market. She's also done a few other 'makers markets' including the Abbotsford Convent's Shirt and Skirt Market.
Using buckles, buttons and embellishments of all kinds, especially vintage, retro and aged, Carole makes brooches, necklaces, photo frames, paperweights, book marks, hair accessories and lots of other interesting pieces that you can wear, give away as gifts or simply enjoy owning. The pendants in her necklaces can also be removed and used as a brooch.
Rings, book markers, pendant cum brooches and necklaces with pendants
She has just started making cuff links, using leather and wooden buttons along with mother of pearl, which is proving to give the item a more masculine look. With paperclips and rings at $5 and hairbands at $7 and a variety of prices for the brooches and pendants, depending on the design, Carole's prices are very reasonable. As she said, the way she approaches it is to ask herself if she would pay the price she's attached to the items.
Needless to say I walked away with my little buys, happy in the knowledge they were aged buttons. They looked terrific, were well priced and they were made by a lovely lady. You'd be interested to know that her designs are unique and one offs, but that's not to say she doesn't use the same button in another piece, just in a different design. Carole is open to one off events, festivals and different craft markets so go ahead and contact this talented lady and you'd be lucky if she said yes, because she'd bring her unique one of a kind items with her that are bound to catch the eye of the customers just like me. As for you the customers, is your outfit really ever complete without a Button To Go creation?
Here's Buttons To Go's Facebook Page. Be sure to 'like' it to keep up with updated information as they happen.