Sunday, 28 August 2011

My father has made

some more buttons from scraps of rare native timbers. He will not buy rare timber unless it has fallen naturally so only a little of it comes his way. It is expensive and often very difficult to work. Native timbers can be very, very hard.
He uses the rest of the timber to make small wooden boxes and pens. What is left however is too precious to waste and so he makes buttons.
My father does not claim to be an artist. He claims not to be able to draw a straight line. When my mother was alive he would consult her on design. Now he will consult me or, if one of my more artistically inclined friends is there, he will consult one of them.
The buttons are a joint design effort. He had made round buttons but he wanted to try other shapes. What, he asked, might be useful? Squares? Rectangles? Triangles?
I pointed out that sharp angles on buttons are not generally considered to be a good idea. He agreed.
He sat by my side as I jiggled the shapes that can be drawn on the computer. When we had something that looked as if it might be the right size and shape I repeated the design and he went off to play with his various machines and tools and the precious scraps of timber.
It was not easy, indeed it was very difficult. It has taken him a long time. Of course these have been made in between doing other things, mending another chair and making twenty of something else for someone else.
Last night however he came in with some buttons. There are squares. There are hexagons. There are ovals. They are made from Desert Oak, from Robina and from Bull Banksia.
As they are made by hand they are not all absolutely even. Far from detracting from their beauty this adds to it. He has oiled them with a special oil which will not affect clothing but, apart from that, they are natural. You can see the grain of the timber. The Bull Banksia has tiny silvery flecks, the Robina has small streaks of deeper brown and the grain of the Desert Oak is almost too fine to see but gives the surface an unique appearance.
"I think I might just go back to round buttons," he tells me, "They are much easier to make."
I am sure they are but these are, in their own way, small works of art. They will be given only to those who are able to appreciate such art - the art in timber as well as workmanship.


Jan Jones said...

They sound lovely.

jeanfromcornwall said...

This is where I wish you were able to post pictures! They sound so very good.

catdownunder said...

They are lovely Jan.
Jean, one day I will bring you some!

JO said...

Now you will have to knit a very special cardi to put them on!

Mary in VA said...

Your words makes us know how gorgeous they are even without pictures.

catdownunder said...

Maybe Jo - have a line up for other people at present.
Hi Mary - left you a message on Ravelry. Do hope all in VA are safe.