They're nostalgic, utilitarian, beguiling, historical and some may be valuable. I've been a fan of buttons for a long time. I use vintage buttons in my jewelry. OK, I'm mastering some of these techniques and creating some original designs with buttons. But I am now outing myself as a PWLB, Person who loves buttons! I've been caught going into thrift shops and buying clothes just to harvest the materials -- especially the pretty old buttons. I'm an amateur and hope to learn a lot more.
Upcycling items like these is not only trendy but very fashionable and kind to the environment. You may find buttons made from rhinestones, crystals, mother of pearl, Lucite or Bakelite, porcelain and a variety of metals and more. One of my favorite books that has a section about incorporating buttons into your jewelry making is Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell's Vintage-Style Beaded Jewelry.
April 17-19 the Colorado State Button Society has its show in Denver. This includes a session on the care and feeding of Bakelite.
Also in the state, When Buttons Fly Over Colorado, August 3-8, is the year's National Button Society Convention. There are 200 awards to be given which show you the vast array of what you might see at such a show.
Another book, Button Jewelry & Accessories by Tair Parnes, has a real variety of contemporary styles. I'd like to find more information about vintage button jewelry and/or the techniques used in creating button jewelry. If anyone has any ideas to share, it would be appreciated.