Czech Button Maker

Czech Button Love

More than 50 years ago, 15 year old, twin brothers decided to learn button pressing so they wouldn't have to take a test.  The Czech button industry's button factories shipped their buttons around the world.  Today those two brothers are the last of the button pressers.  I was fortunate enough to meet one and watch him work and follow through the process of making buttons to the end.  This is that story. 

Their work space is intimate with a single, oil fueled oven for heating the glass.  Any of the molds are older than the brothers who use them.  The finished buttons definitely feel vintage.  But I get ahead of myself.   

Once the button has been pressed, its rough edges smoothed and the button must be polished using machines like this.  It can then be sent to be painted. 

There is one company in the Czech Republic that still sees the unique importance of what these brothers create.  They employee a small group of women who hand paint each button.  They are the company that ships buttons to the few markets that still exist.

Styles have changed significantly in the last 50 years and with that change the demand for beads is significantly smaller.  There are markets in the Japan, with high end, designer clothes and in the US where the buttons have found a place in jewelry design, like mine.  

Due to the nature of production, the company has a minimum order of 100 pieces of anyone design.  Sadly, that means that I cannot order from them directly.  Nonetheless, I was able to find a number of different  sizes, shapes and colors that are hard to find in the States and brought them back.

When I work on these all the buttons I have used over the years, I am aware that this is an art that is nearing the end of its story.  I am grateful for being able to share the story and for the opportunity to build on their art after adding my bit.

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