The Fibre Report with Joe Lewis
At age 16, I discovered the American expatriate writer Gertrude Stein who spent most of her adult life in Paris, France. In 1914 she published a book of poetry entitled Tender Buttons. In Paris, Ontario, I grew up with a fascination for the button jar that moved from window sill to window sill. Certain confusion soon became joy as the groupings of seemingly random words produced rhythmic sounds similar to those made by the buttons as I shook my mother’s button jar trying to catch a glimpse of the colours, sizes or shapes of the buttons. I became as fascinated with Gertrude Stein as I was with our buttons. Gertrude Stein’s family was at some point involved in the button trade in pre-civil war Baltimore.
Having a long history of use as a functional closure, buttons have also been decorative embellishments throughout time, as is being highlighted in a number of exhibits and at least one button museum.
On Saturday April 2, 2011, I attended the opening of Anna Torma’s Encyclopaedia Domestica at the Cambridge Galleries, Queen’s Square, and went to see the 2011 edition of Selected Works: Cambridge Galleries Contemporary Canadian Textile Collection. It ran from March 17- April 10, 2011 at Design at Riverside.
Read more in our Spring 2012 issue.
Article by Joe Lewis