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Threads & Letters

Threads & Letters

Thank you for reading Threads and Letters. A very special thank you to Duncan Lawson for helping me

put all this together, feeding me an assortment of dried fruit and making my bookzine look so proffessional. (I hope) Anna Percy and Rebecca Audra Smith, my inspiring poetry friends. Sara Inkster for all your nimble fingered advice and friendship. Magnus Aske Blikeng for your amazing photos. Climate James, Eco Clown.

All the Willmotts, Mum for making me realise I can’t do

everything, Dad, top of the pops, Vicky, Charles, Harry, George and Lily. Kathryn Shepherd - Classic best friend. Natalie Rose Bradbury, who first inspired me to make my first publication, always sending me postcards and lots of other stuff.

All my inspiring friends: Lauren Velvick twino, Catriona Gray, Cherryade Records, Shoestring magazine, Emma Tillyer, Steve Carlton, Silvia Hoya, Stephen Keeling, The Bumblebees.

Thank you to The Costume Gallery, Manchester. Printed on cotton paper changing the world one stitch at a time _ _ _



Threads & Letters

Threads & Letters

Literature and textiles stitched together.

Welcome to threads and letters. the publication stitching literature and textile together, where they belong. Here you shall find: Chapter 1. Buttons at Platt Hall, Costume Gallery Chapter 2 Emroidreded puppetry Chapter 3: Patterned poetry Chapter 4. Craftivism

Craftivism, Manchester, exposing political injusticethrough creative stitching. Meets at nexus art Cafe, Dale Street on the Thurd Tuesday of the Month. craftivismmanchester@googlemail. com




Threads & Letters

Threads & Letters

pattern piece Follow my requirements. My suggested pattern My gentle gathering, Pulled by loose thread The front and back pocket pieces, Layed out onto your floor Allow a 1cm allowance for cutting Or the edges will be rough. Follow the rules, the requirements the shaded darts you almost cut in half.

Once you’ve follow all the rules. Layout onto the floor and cut off the Excess thread.




Threads & Letters Buttons

he humble button serves two important purposes in its small form, one of function; to fasten a garment together by pushing the button through an outlined absence of fabric; the button hole. This is specifically shaped to the chosen button and connects the two pieces of fabric together, anchoring the button securely in place. Secondly, the button acts as a decorative piece, embroidered to a uniform to gratify military achievement or a button collection generationally passed through families. Now detached from its restricting thread, no longer hidden by folds of fabric, it individually

Threads & Letters Bo Bo the embroidered clown.


circulates its ornamental purpose. he earliest button recorded dates back to the fourteenth century. Early buttons were constructed from two forms of cloth stitched tightly together to form a knot. They were found in the Royal Wardrobe in Blackfriars Bridge when evacuated in 1972. The button’s decorative function was at its height in the Tudor period when the costume was elaborated with buttons crafted from precious metals and gemstones. Eighteenth century buttons were often constructed by ‘...mounting a painting or carving under glass within a metal shell with a loop shank. Others were enamelled, set with jewels, engraved on precious metals or made from hand painted porcelain.1’ The buttons purpose became almost entirely functional after the Second World War. Women’s clothing became more uniform and utilitarian and they no longer required the unnecessary decoration. The craftsmanship of the button maker was erased when


BoBo the clown is hiding a frown. Stitches: Fill in stitch, green pom pom, running stitch, french knot cheeks.


Threads & Letters

Threads & Letters Embroidered puppets.

Three dimensional embroidery. Stitches: chain stitch wings, Running stitch, seed stitch heart, French Knot eyes.

cheaper materials were substituted due to shortage of labour and factories. The button’s existence slowly becoming lost to mass production and the production of a new fastener; the zipper led to discontinuation of many button types in the 1950s. Modern buttons quite often are used to serve a decorative function in the form of the button badge, becoming an essential political accessory in its own right, or a novel fashion accessory.


wanted to extend my journey with buttons, I have several of my own small tin boxes and old jam jars bursting with the small little round things that I have collected over the years. Luckily I didn’t have to venture far to find one of the finest collections in the country. The Costume Gallery, Manchester is home to a collection of over 10,000 buttons originally from The Button Museum in Ross on Wye opened by Gillian and Alan Meredith in 1988. The cabinets in the gallery are crammed with lavish moulds of wooden duffel togs, painted metal, cast pewter and pressed glass, elegantly pinned on elevated stands. Gillian was a button enthusiast, who began collecting in 1948 after discovering two black floral enamel buttons given to her as a child by her grandmother wondering at the gentle craftsmanship taken



Threads & Letters to make them. Since the collection was sold to Manchester Art Gallery in 2004, the collection has attracted a variety of interest from nimble fingered button collectors to veteran button factory workers recalling past nostalgias. Button World, A Fun for Free programme set up in May 2009 allowed children and the young at heart to explore the tactile nature of the collection in button themed activities. Participants could take part in a button themed Connect Four-style game, and design their very own button, which later would be displayed in the gallery.

Threads & Letters Little Bat Puppet

Visiting the collection ignites my childhood curiosities of collecting and

sliding hungry fingers through mother’s burgundy brass button box. Miles Lambert, Senior manager of The Costume Gallery commented on the collection being very popular in capturing childhood wistfulness. ‘Buttons, either as decorative hallmarks, or as functional and decorative trimming on clothing, are very popular with visitors. Very many people remember the perennial button box which was used when a button went missing.’ The collection is stored in ‘open storage’ cabinets, holding examples of buttons dating back to the seventeenth century. The cabinets display a variety of historical periods and materials from Victorian buttons crafted with Jet black glass, Chinese engraved cinnabar, metallic military buttons and hand-painted illustrations of popular children’s literature. Whether seen as an ornamental sentiment or an essential fastening tool, the humble button has stitched centuries of garments together and each one has its own little story to tell.


he collection is accessible to the public, appointments available on request and more information is hoped to be available online shortly. Open Wednesday-Saturday 1.30- 4.30 pm

City of Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Gaunt Collection Edinburgh Castle - Mainly military Buttons Tokyo Button Museum – The Iris Button Museum is devoted entirely to buttons. Expect German toggle buttons, Hungarian Turkish buttons and samples from the sixteenth century. Jablone, Museum of Glass & Jewellery Czech Republic Lacy Glass buttons reproduced on postcards from With great thanks to Platt Hall, Manchester, http://www. Discovering Old Buttons, Primrose Peacock, Shire Publication, Great Britain.



Threads and Letters  

Rebecca Aimée Lanyon Willmott is a self publisher, poet, storyteller and textile artist. A love of storytelling and stitching, is what inspi...