Thursday, 9 August 2012

Its a wrap

Its a wrap! There is plenty to read here but it is no longer being added to because I have decided to concentrate my attention on the website ( obviously) and on the Nichols Buttons Facebook page which if you want to be part of things you really should join in on. I hope to see you there.

If you really can't get enough of me then you could follow me on Twitter too, but I should warn you its a bit of a mixed bag on there with lots of my Handmade Lives self and knee jerk reactions to the world as it bumps up against me.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Tools and the Man

They look like evidence at some ghastly torture trial but actually these are tools my father used to make his glass buttons. The ends are wrapped to make them easier to hold and to protect his hand from the heat of the furnace and hot glass.

This is his glass cutter set with an industrial diamond which he would use to score the glass which was then cracked over a steel rule or the smaller pieces scored like butterscotch held in his loosely cupped hand and broken by bashing with pliers.  See Raw glass to button post

Here is a file used to imprint a texture onto the button.

These are other metal pieces he collected and would use to imprint designs or texture into the buttons. Belt buckles worked well as they have a bar across the back which he could hold with his tongs to press the decorated part into the molten glass.

Where he impressed the metal buckle and how hard it was pressed into the glass produced different effects.

Such a simple technique could produce such differing results from the masculine to the delicate.

Friday, 11 May 2012

From Home to Workroom

A few evenings ago my brother and I rewalked the route my father used to take to his workroom through out our childhood. We lived in St Johns Wood and my father would walk across Regents Park to his workroom in Grafton Mews which was just round the corner from Fitzroy Square.

The video shows where we lived round the corner from St Johns Wood High Street opposite Barrow Hill School. My father and mother moved here in 1952 first living in  Heron House at the top then moving round the corner to Swift House then back to Heron House again; moving each time for a larger flat.

Swift House

Heron House
When they moved in the estate was new and wonderful but the surrounding streets were very run down still suffering from the effects of war, but all London was like that peeling paint and bombsites.

When we were very small we would meet daddy on his way home through the park and have a picnic

When we were a bit older  we would go all the way to the workroom with him in the summer, when he had little to do except go to see if there was any post. He would go upstairs leaving us with Stan who used to work in the garage beneath his workroom. The whole of the mews was full of dodgy car dealers as was Warren Street and my brother remembers the arguments between the dealers as they fought over who parked their cars where. We were quite safe with Stan and were perfectly happy sitting in the Rolls Royces or Bentleys pretending they were ours.

Even when we were little, we understood how important it was to have post. No post meant the overdraft got bigger. The post would be a little brown envelope, inside would be a flimsy bit of paper and pinned to that a bit of material. The more scraps of material pinned in there, the better it was. Each piece represented a Winter order.

My father's summer time task  was to come up with a button to go with that material. A single set would then go back for the sample suit and then in the Winter the real orders came in depending on how well the suit sold. In the Winter he made hundreds of buttons a day, in the summer he played and worried.

Grafton Mews

Sadly, 23 Grafton Mews which was my father's workroom has been remodelled but this is closest remaining one . His was only two stories and just the width of the garage doors, the whole painted in fire engine red. There was a Judas door within the garage doors which opened to the cobbled garage, just big enough for two monster Bentleys, in the corner  was a stone staircase, beneath which was a truly terrible lavatory.
 The staircase took you to my father's two room work room. Which originally would have been the hay loft and a room for the stable lad which had a fireplace. Making was done in the hayloft and the office and stock kept in the stable lad's  room. You could see between the floor boards in the big room but my father approved, as it meant any fumes could get out.

Fitzroy Square taken from the BT tower in 1968

Here then finally is the video. Its no masterpiece and it only lasts two minutes. It begins in St Johns Wood High Street, moves round the corner to our flat, then takes you down Newcourt Street  into Regents Park via the canal bridge  and then across the park into The Broad Walk,  out though Park Square East  into Warren Street then finally into  Grafton Mews. The distance is just under two miles.

With my brother in 1953

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

May Day Midnight Button

We know we are late and trying to cover our tracks by saying we are May Day Buttons and we are dusty, you would think she would give us a wash before our photoshoot!

Monday, 19 March 2012

Full Moon on Thursday

Full moon on Thursday, all it takes for you to own this button is to put its beauty into words. Add yours to the comments of this post and come Thursday it could be yours.

The Monday Midnight Button

L. Nichols glass button 4.2cm wide

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Woo Me Nichols Button Giveaway

If you admire me, then woo me
and I will come and live with you

A little while ago I had a conversation on the Nichols Button page on Facebook:

L. Nichols glass button 3.6cm wide
Nichols Buttons It looks terribly innocent doesn't it
 Aline Curchod beau bouton "ciel d'hiver"
 Nichols Buttons Aline you have given me an idea I shall run a competition for the best description of a Monday Midnight Button and the winner will be sent the button. But I am judging it not luck. I LOVE judging it makes me feel POWERFUL Incidentally I love "ciel d'hiver" you would have won on this one. Also sounds more chic in French

Aline Curchod I am delighted that this comment gave you that idea.
I do not know if it is "more chic" in French, I'm not speaking well in English and the translator is not always faithful.

Aline is the author of the wonderful 365 Boutons blog

So look deep into my soul and describe what you see

Leave your words here in the comments 
Short or  Long; Poetical or  Quirky or  Funny
You can have serveral goes .
Call yourself a button lover?
Well Prove It

The button will be so carefully packed and sent to my favourite response on the next Full Moon which is Thursday March 22nd
so be sure you leave me away of contacting you

Thursday, 8 March 2012

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