Monday, February 7, 2011
long live the button
in the 80s i was a button fanatic. i had hundreds of them. i collected them like others collected stickers, cabbage patch dolls and baseball cards. they were easy to collect, too -- they were ubiquitous then. in the late 80s the button trend for the most part just melted away and other things took their places. recently i discovered that a gal i knew in college, christen carter, took this loss quite personally and launched her own bid in the 90s to revive the fading craft. and so the busy beaver button company was born. over fifteen years later, she is at the helm of a booming business. the thought of this made my heart swell and my pulse top out, for it reminded me how much buttons once defined my life. they were badges of statement: i traveled here, i saw that, i ate there, i believed that. they were snapshots of culture: advertisements, events, foods, politics, music, tribal pride. they were pieces of art: concise, colorful, graphic collections of shapes and words.
and now they bring back waterfalls of memories. after i found out about her company, i was curious enough to dig the long forgotten (and rather rusty) bucket of buttons out of my scary basement and go through them one by one. many have surely vanished in my 20+ moves over the years but the ones that remain tell a fairly accurate story of who i was and what i did during the first half of my teenage years. my third grade year, when i went to hawaii with my grandmother for a month, and spent the first night in a honolulu hospital because she tripped over a speed bump in the parking garage. watching columbia lift off for the first time in 1981. the trip my parents made to the 1984 olympics. the family voyage we made to toronto and niagara falls at a time when my hair was orange, i wore horrifying neon things and one of my braces popped off. when mcnuggets hit the cuisine scene. the black and white TV i won after buying a button in st. croix falls, wisconsin. and for the love of faux mexican food, who didn't make it through the 80s without a visit to chi-chi's?
if you are a button nut, you'll enjoy christen's history of buttons and her determination to help these little pieces of genius make their rightful comeback. long live the button!
Posted by aimee