Monday, June 10, 2013
AT THE CA BUTTON SOCIETY CONVENTION
When I tell people I collect buttons, the response is generally one of polite perplexity.
"You mean button buttons?" they ask. "The kind that are on clothing?"
"Yes," I respond. "But the ones I collect are vintage or antique." I attempt to describe the various types of buttons used in certain periods of history, but after a few moments realize it is as futile as trying to describe the work of Da Vinci, Monet, or Jackson Pollock.
So, on the previously mentioned day last May, I made the trek to the convention at the San Mateo Marriott Hotel, to visit with a community of people who share and understand my passion for buttons.
On Thursday, the first day of the convention, many Button Society members (myself included) were busy putting the final touches on the collections of buttons to be entered in the competitions on
"Competitions involving buttons?" one might ask. "How does that work?"
I won't attempt to describe the intricacies of the competitions (or Awards, as they are called). To sum up, this year there were 70 Awards Button Society members had the option of entering. Each Award requires a certain type, size, and number of buttons mounted on 9" x 12" medium weight board. A group of knowledgeable members judge the entries using a point system. The points are added up, and first, second, and third prize ribbons are awarded, along with small cash prizes.
Friday night I happily learned I won first place in 3 categories, owls, Egyptian themed buttons, and dragons. I received third place for wood buttons.
One of the aspects I love about button collecting is the hunt for particular buttons. When the showroom opened on Saturday (to the public as well as members), it was difficult to decide where to start looking.
There were twenty-three dealers, or sellers, this year. The less expensive buttons are in various piles, called "pokes", because buyers are allowed to poke through them. The more expensive buttons are mounted on the same 9" x 12" board used in competitions. I have to admit I did buy a few of the expensive buttons!
Saturday night we had our Society dinner. Dinner was followed by an auction of donated items, to make money for the Button Society. It was entertaining to see friends good-naturedly attempt to outbid one another.
Sunday morning the Awards breakfast was held. Winners were announced, and the cash prizes handed out.
After breakfast, the showroom was again opened to the public. I took advantage of those last few hours and continued my hunt. I bought several more lovely buttons. At one point I came upon a particularly nice button and looked at the price. It was $1,200! I quickly put it back.
The showroom closed at 3 o'clock. It was time to pack and head for the flight home.
Next year the convention will be held in San Diego. I'm anticipating it already!