Featured Shops · The Wandarrah Files

The Wandarrah Files: Hundreds Of Buttons

Good morning friends!
Today is the second in our series of The Wandarrah Files, interviews with teamies about what makes them tick, and why they love doing what they do! The interviews are conducted by Anita, from myclectic.
Meet Liz from the etsy shop: Hundreds Of Buttons.
Do you come from a creative family?

No one in my family showed enormous creativity.

My dad was creative in that he could find solutions to needs by designing or building
mechanical things on the farm but I’m pretty sure Mum never finished knitting anything
she started, and when she bought a sewing machine to make clothes for us it was Dad
who used it most to mend his trousers.
How did your Etsy shop name come about?
I set up my etsy shop after my husband said, ‘What are you going to do with all these
The phrase ‘hundredsofbuttons’ seemed a natural name for the shop.  At first I made
button necklaces, rings, earrings, brooches and bracelets.   I went on to make button
flowers and bouquets.
Where do you gain inspiration for your work?
I embellish all kinds of things with buttons – string bags, army bags, photo frames and
button mosaic.   Each time I hit on a new thing to do with buttons I discovered that it had
been done before. Searching etsy and the web revealed some amazing work there.
Do you reduce, reuse or recycle as part of your creative process?
I reuse, recycle, repurpose, upcycle, reclaim.  To ‘upcycle’ means to use something again
to create something different and better than it was before.
I think that’s what I do when I make a button necklace. I rarely buy a new button. I try to
use buttons I have reclaimed from garage sales, op shops, unused collections or old button tins.

I started to dye buttons when my sister wanted a particular blue button to match the yarn
she was knitting at the time. Lots of white buttons have been transformed at my kitchen stove.

Who is your absolute favourite designer/artist?

As I became interested in the older buttons found in old button jars I came to value advice from Joyce Cheong, who established the Victorian Button Collectors Club and who knows more about the history of buttons than anyone.
If I show her my old buttons she tells me their story and I feel great pleasure when they fit
into her collection. Joyce is a national treasure.
What is your studio space like?
My button room has a wall of buttons and a work bench custom made by my husband. The room also holds displays, mannequins, storage tubs, a piano, guitars, TV, bookshelves, desks, laptop, filing cabinet, lights, cameras.
It has a large window with morning sun where I photograph items for listing.
Why do you craft?
I spend less time crafting now and more time supporting, photographing and listing for
others’ etsy shops.
Because JansArtSmocks www.etsy.com/shop/JansArtSmocks are the best kids art smocks on etsy my idea of clearing them out of my sister Jan’s house backfired. She now sews more than ever and is on first name terms with her local post office staff. She drives the sewing machine and I drive the computer.
I answer the convos with ‘Liz for Jan’ after sms messages between sisters have clarified
whether a certain colour smock in a certain size is possible.
Friends in Echuca who make fabulous sock monkeys asked me to administer their etsy shop. The animals from lostsockshome www.etsy.com/shop/lostsockshome accompany us on our caravan holidays. I photograph them all over Australia and post them them all over the world.
Another friend makes beautiful jeans bags from recycled denim. Echuca Crafts www.etsy.com/shop/EchucaCrafts was recently set up for all of us together.
I met Robyn Anderson of RiverGumJewellery www.etsy.com/shop/RiverGumJewellery at a
‘Meet-up’ (Melbourne Etsy Street Team meetup) and we became friends. Robyn makes jewellery and we made a mini documentary in her studio. The video is online at ABC Open and it was shown on ABC TV. open.abc.net.au/explore/93158
Where do you see your creative journey taking you in the next 12 months?
I foresee that in the coming year I will spend time with camera and laptop close at hand.

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