Heartland Highways Program 1003

Uploaded by weiutv on 30.01.2012

HH1003 transcript There’s more to buttons than what you might
think, next on Heartland Highways, we’ll learn all about this unique hobby from one
serious button collector. For the competition, you put your buttons on 9 by 12 cards, because
that’s the standard. And then there’s medium, small, mixed, various. There’s all
different kinds of categories for it. So, and you got like so many buttons on a card
like 20 large, 30 mediums, mixed is medium and small buttons, 42 small smalls, you have
70 diminutives and it just. It’s kind of complicated. But, that’s what the cards
do. Then we’ll introduce you to Delilah Davis,
a studio button artist from Charleston, Illinois. Finally we’ll check out Sue Trimble’s
extensive doll collection, just ahead on Heartland Highways.
For most of us, buttons are just a part of our clothing. But for people who collect them,
buttons are a passion. The national button society was founded in 1938 and soon after
several state and local button clubs followed. We met up with one local button collector
who shared her extensive and amazing collection with us.
(Narrator) She was just 10 years old with a $10 bill at an auction. That’s when Maude
Hartman’s button collection started, really by accident.
And there on the rack wagon was a couple of really pretty candle sticks with all the little
crystals hanging down and that’s what I wanted. And it was during the week and so
anyway I was wanting to bid on those. And then, I the auctioneer through in this tin
of buttons in it and it was a big ‘ol metal tin just full of buttons. So, I bid and by
gosh he took my ten dollars and I got the tin of buttons and the candle sticks. And
the buttons I brought home and my mother used them, cause she made a lot of our clothes
and I still have the candle sticks. But, the buttons we used, so that was the start of
(Narrator) Always a collector and an antiquer, Maude was buying and selling glassware, but
eventually tired of lugging heavy boxes of glasses to and from flea markets and decided
“that was enough”.
I ran into a book called “Button, Button” and I have it over there. And it was written
by Peggy Ann Osborn and in the back of it there was an address for the National Button
Society and I wrote the secretary and said, “Is there a button club in Illinois?”
And she wrote back and gave me the name of the president then and her name was Jean Curtis.
And I called Jean I got the letter back on a Saturday and Sunday afternoon I called Jean
Curtis and it was like talking to my best friend. We talked for two hours on the telephone.
And she was president of the Illinois State Button Society and she said, “You’ve got
to come to an Illinois state show!” And I did.
(Narrator) It was then that Maude realized there was more to button collecting than just
keeping jars full of buttons. Her first task was to start separating her button collection
by material type.
Because I found out that when I mixed my metals with my mother of pearls and my plastics the
chemical reaction in them makes your button collection go poof! And celluloid is one of
the worst materials, because if you mix it with any kind of metal the celluloid eventually
deteriorates. It’s probably one of the most fragile materials. If you think about old
movie film, which is highly flammable and that’s why um you really have to be careful
with celluloid buttons. When you open up a button jar and smell that funny smell. It’s
usually kind of an ammonia smell that is your celluloid buttons deteriorating.
(Narrator) Buttons can be made from glass, enamel, metal, horn, wood, plastic and more
and come in as many, if not more, colors, shapes sizes and themes. They tell a history
not only of fashion but also show an evolution of technology, in particular, the invention
of celluloid in the late 1800’s.
It was great. It could be molded. It could be rolled. It could be knotted. It could be
just everything done with it. And a lot just think about it, everything was made out of
it, buttons, hair receivers, beautiful things, dolls. Ok, well they found out celluloid was
flammable, but there was a lot of celluloid made in the 20s and 30s but then bakelite
came along. And bakelite was one of these materials that you could color it so bright
reds, greens, whites, which is now mustard color because the color changed. And so, that
was your second plastic. And then they had all different kinds like Catalan and pyreline
and just different kinds of plastics
(Narrator) For serious button collectors there are state and national competitions. At the
national level, button collectors follow “The Blue Book”, which specifics the rules of
how to compete beginning with the all important button card.
For the competition, you put your buttons on 9 by 12 cards, because that’s the standard.
And then there’s medium, small, mixed, various. There’s all different kinds of categories
for it. So, and you got like so many buttons on a card like 20 large, 30 mediums, mixed
is medium and small buttons, 42 small smalls, you have 70 diminutives and it just. It’s
kind of complicated. But, that’s what the cards do.
(Narrator) The cards have also helped Maude organize and display her collection. When
looking at the button cards, you realize that these buttons are more like little works of
art. And that’s when Maude told me about something called studio buttons. These are
buttons made by artists, just for button collectors.
Back in 1995, there was a man named John Gooderham who I met at the Illinois state button convention.
And he was a Canadian paperweight artist. And I couldn’t believe what he could do
with a small button. I met him in like 1996 and he’d been making buttons since the 60s.
So, I missed some of his earlier buttons. But, I started … every time I went to a
convention I headed for his table first and I would buy whatever I could get my hands
on and whatever I could afford is what I did. And now I have probably over 90 of his buttons
that I’ve bought.
(Narrator) For Maude, what started as a mere tin full of buttons has grown into an expansive
and organized collection. She continues to compete at the state and national level with
her buttons. For those who may have a jar of buttons sitting in a closet somewhere,
she offers this bit of advice.
If you like scrapbooking, make yourself a shadow frame with the buttons in it with your
mom’s picture or your grandmother’s picture. Make yourself a frame. Do something with them.
Make yourself something cute. Make yourself a cute little necklace out of them. Do something
like that. But, and if you just want to look at them put them in a cute little container
that you can run our hands through them sometime and look at them. Don’t put them in a jar
with a lid on them. Separate them, display them, enjoy them.
Stay connected with heartland highways at weiu.net. You’ll find us under the television
tab. Learn more about upcoming episodes and get contact information for the people and
places featured on the show as well as past season. You can also connect with us through
you tube and facebook! One of the studio button artists that Maude
Hartman collects is from Delilah Davis from Charleston, Illinois. Delilah had never heard
of studio buttons until she met Maude Hartman at a local craft show.
And I said but wouldn’t that kind of be cost prohibited? You know I can get $30-$40
for a marble, whose going to put six of those on a or eight on a blouse? And she says, “oh
no no! We don’t buy more than one of a style usually and we don’t put them on clothes
we put them on cardboard and enter them into competitions.” And I said, “Oh! That makes
perfect sense!” And she said, “Well, I tell you what you just make four or five of
them and I’ll tell you what I’ll buy everyone of them.”
(Narrator) It didn’t take long for the button collectors to notice and soon Delilah was
traveling to button shows and selling out sometimes before the show even started. She’s
become well known for her paperweight buttons and those known as realistics.
Those are really fun to make, because realistic buttons are what they’re supposed to be.
They’re supposed to be exactly what they’re supposed to be. You know, you have a horse,
tea pot, I’ve made witches for Halloween, their faces with a hat, you know I’ve made
dragons and they buy them. And that’s cool. You know it’s just one more uh outlet.
(Narrator) Creating studio buttons is just one of those creative outlets for Delilah.
She started working initially in stained glass working as an apprentice. Stain glass lead
to kaleidoscopes, which lead to an opportunity to work with John Hammond Miller, a 3rd generation
glass blower from Missouri. And I went down there and took lessons with
him and learn how to make beads and marbles. Beads you learn control, marbles you learn
design and how to make them round and then you go on to working in a tank. Well, for
a long time I didn’t get any farther than just the marbles, because I was just having
so much fun making marbles and learning how to make flowers in there.
(Narrator) Working with a torch, Delilah perfected her art and could make tiny flowers bloom
from inside of marbles. It is done with lines and dots and how you
manipulate the glass. You make a nail head kind of a gather on the end of the rod and
you draw the shape of your flower and it’s just the way you heat it and let the glass
flow and then you have to press down and push and it just blooms. It’s just like stop
slow photography yeah or fast photography. But, it does it just shows you it blooms right
there in front of you. (Narrator) Delilah does all of her small,
intricate work, like marbles, pendants and buttons with a torch. While each one is unique,
they all start with the same material, clear glass rods; something Delilah is now making
herself. The reason why I started making my own glass
was simply because the glass that is machine made pulled into rods um clear glass there’s
a lot of seed bubbles in there and I don’t want a bubble in there unless I put it there.
There is just not as good as handmade. So, um John Miller he had a recipe for glass and
he passed it on to me and so we make our own glass and that way I can pull it. I can control
if there is any bubbles in there. I can control how many hands touch it, because with a machine
made there’s always little scratches on the outside. And every person who touches
it leaves oil and dirt. And no matter how good you clean it that’s going to come off
as scum in the glass. And so if you have to spend most of your time picking that out or
the bubbles out it’s not worth it. I’d rather pay more in which is what I did and
a lot of other glass workers do to. Um so it was a lot easier making it myself.
(Narrator) Making glass rods is an orchestrated operation that requires two people to complete.
Steve Reynolds, who worked for John Miller is now helping Delilah.
He has more experience at pulling rods and um making paper weights and things like that
than I am. You know I was always the helper too. So, most of the time he takes the front
and does it and then helps me along when I forget, because I’m new at making paper
weights and stuff like that. I did work a little bit with John, but not a lot like I
said I liked making marbles. And so, Steve is from Georgia. Like I said he had been working
with John for a while and he said that if I didn’t mind he’d come with the stuff
and he’d show me and we could work together and it worked out pretty well.
(Narrator) Between making her own artwork, Delilah is also teaches classes and now has
her own apprentice, Marie. She has lots of ideas. She’s still young.
Art work, yes. But, anything that has to do with glass. She makes most of my jewelry,
you know either she’ll make the bead. She’s learning. I make most of the focal beads and
then she makes maybe some of the spacer beads to go with it and then she puts it all together.
Because I am just not, that’s not my thing. Um I’ll make anything she wants me to make
as the focal bead. She comes up with all kinds of ideas and I’ll make them for her. But,
she has to put them together. To make a paper weight, to make them marble that’s something
you can carry around in your hand. In two hours usually it’s done. Even marbles in
an hour you have a piece of art work that you carry around in your hand. It’s um instant
gratification in its best. [Laughing]
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And just like buttons are special to Maude and Delilah, dolls are special to this next
lady. We met Sue Trimble, a doll collector from Robinson, Illinois. She has an extensive
and diverse collection of dolls she was happy to share with us.
Uh, A few times I’d seen Lucille Vanflate’s doll collection at West Union and I just sort
of thought that was really interesting and I thought I’d like to give it a try, so
uh, one day I cleaned out a glass bookcase and put three dolls from my childhood in and
when my husband came home for lunch I told him I’d started my doll collection.
(Narrator) That one glass bookcase has now turned into many and Sue Trimble of Robinson,
Illinois, has even added an entire wing on her home to house her doll collection. She’s
not sure exactly how many dolls she has, but Sue is sure of the different kind of dolls
found in her collection. I have some, uh antique dolls and I have,
I’ve gotten them from various places, one a lady in town gave me a China head doll that
had been in her family for several years and she has no children to pass on to, and she
wanted someone to take care of it who would like it and love it, and so she gave it to
me a couple of years ago. I like to collect dolls when we travel and although we haven’t
done a lot of traveling, some of them I look for dolls that are signed by, uh, a doll maker
and I prefer that they come from that country or that state. Uh, I don’t wish to go to
Alaska and get a doll that came from China. I have, um, some dolls from back in my childhood,
uh, composition dolls, that I suppose I’m sort of partial to which that’s type of
doll I played with when I was younger. (Narrator) Although all of Sue’s dolls are
significant to her, she can still tell you all about her favorite – even if choosing
one is a hard decision. If I could only keep one doll, I would keep
my Mary Hartland doll, she comes with the most uh, interest to me and the most uh, family
feelings but uh, I have dolls that are worth a little bit more that I like very well, and
then I have some that aren’t, some are just plastic dolls but they bring back memories,
so it’s hard. But if I could only take one it would probably be my Mary Hartland doll.
(Narrator) So what does this doll collector look for when buying dolls? Sue says there’s
a combination of things, but most importantly, you have to buy a doll that you love.
I like to buy a doll that speaks to me, sometimes you just look at a doll, and its eyes and
it face and its features it just says, take me home, so I always look for that. Then if
you’re looking, say at an antique doll, you’re looking for a doll that’s in good
shape; you don’t want any cracks or breaks, especially on the face itself. If you like
the doll, depending on what you’re going to do with it, if its got a little break or
a crack in the shoulder plate, you might choose to take it anyway. It depends on whether you’re
going to show it or if just buy it for love. (Narrator) Sue doesn’t just collect her
dolls, she enjoys them. She says each doll tells a story and all one has to do is scan
her shelves for volumes of history to be revealed. I enjoy them because they tell a story. Uh,
whether they’re telling about the history of the fashion that people wore a certain
time or uh, sometimes they give hair styles away that people wore at a certain time and
sometimes they just represent the values that people lived and liked at that period of time.
(Narrator) But what about every little girl’s favorite? Sue has an extensive collection
of Barbie dolls and knows their history too! Barbie came out, in about 1959, and uh, her
mother saw her daughter playing with paper dolls on the floor and she thought, they should
have a three-dimensional doll to play and they named her Barbie because that was what
her daughter’s name was. And when she came out the first year, they took her up to Toy
Fair in New York and she didn’t really go over too well up there because the big toy
of the century at that time they thought was going to be this big machine gun, toy machine
gun that was coming out, this was gonna be everybody’s desire, well they were wrong.
It was the Barbie Doll. And uh, they next year they decided that Barbie needed a friend,
so they made Ken which is actually Barbie’s brother, is named Ken also. So then we have
Barbie and Ken that has gone down through all of the years, and this is since 1959,
she’s had lots of girlfriends, she’s had uh, several brides’ dresses, but never quite
married Ken. She has been the nurse, she was the secretary, she was the airline stewardess,
but now you see Barbie, she’s the doctor, she is the pilot, she’s president of the
United States and Barbie really does show a history of the changing of woman’s values
and their desires throughout the years the since 1959.
(Narrator) According to Sue, the reaction many have the first time they see her collection
is universal. Most of them are really kind of amazed. And
it just sort of, uh, gets them but then they start really looking at the dolls and they’ll
say, “Oh I had that doll, or my friend had that doll, I remember that doll,” and it
does bring back memories. Gerber Baby, Tiny Tears, um, I don’t think anybody anymore
probably played with the antique dolls or the China heads um, but they played with Chatty
Cathy and of course Barbie is always big, little girls are especially interested in
the American Girl dolls, um, some of them will look at um, at the Howdy Duty Marionette
and they’ll remember that they had that. Um, they also like to look at, some of the
girls, the younger girls, the Cabbage Patch dolls because they remember when they wanted
a Cabbage Patch and they couldn’t get it because they didn’t get in line fast enough.
Um, so basically, the dolls just sort of bring back memories, things that they remember.
(Narrator) Memories of those dolls can all be brought up just by touring Sue’s collection,
but one memory that stands out most to her is the story of her Byelo baby doll.
I have a Byelo baby doll that my mother uh, wanted when she was little, her father didn’t
believe in toys for children so she didn’t get one, and when I bought one at an auction,
I went straight to her and showed her my doll and said, “grandfather would have thought
this was an investment.” (Narrator) Sue says she plans to keep on collecting
and she’ll make sure she always has room to display her dolls. One thing she won’t
do? Well I’m not going to build on and I can
always find more room, but oh yes definitely, it gets into your blood and into your heart
and you just can’t stop. Thanks for coming along for our adventures
this week. There’s plenty of our other adventures on our YouTube page at www.youtube.com/weiutv.
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