Sunday, September 20, 2015

Making Ceramic Buttons

As a sewer, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to learn to make ceramic buttons with potter Conni Whittaker from Fryeburg Pottery at Fiber College of Maine. What fun!

Conni had lots of small "cookie cutters" to use for cutting the button shapes out of terra-cotta clay. Once they were cut out, we used a variety of stamps to make impressions in the clay.

I love how Connie used found objects (like a butterfly-shaped earring her husband found on the ground at the Common Ground Fair) to make her stamps. She attached each object to the "head" of an old-fashioned clothespin . . .

Which provided the "handle" of the stamp. She even had steampunk clothespin-stamps made from old gears and watch parts.

Potter Conni Whittaker (right) teaches a Rolling Class at Fiber College 2015

After our buttons were cut out and stamped, we applied two coats of glaze to the edges and both sides of each button.

And that night, Conni took our buttons back to her kiln and fired them at 2000 degrees for five hours.

The next day, here's what they looked like. I was so excited to see how well my very-first-attempt buttons came out.

You can make two or four-holed buttons (holes were made with a coffee stirrer) . . . or, you could just poke one hole so that the "button" can morph into a pendant. I decided to try four like this.

I'll use jewelry cord to make a sliding knot necklace for the pendants.

It took about an hour to make the buttons and almost two hours to glaze them (2-3 coats). In a little under three hours, this total-ceramic-newbie (me) was able to complete a total of 28 buttons and pendants.

I can't wait to start using my new buttons to personalize sewing projects and am already planning a trip to Conni's Fryeburg studio to make more.

       So many new things to learn!
So much creative fun!

This post is buttoned to:
Nifty Thrifty Sunday at Nifty Thrifty Things
Amaze Me Monday at Dwellings
Craftastic Monday Party at Sew Can Do
Motivate Me Monday at Keeping It Simple
Show & Share at Coastal Charm
 Tweak It Tuesday at Cozy Little House


  1. What an absolutely wonderful way to add more of your personal touch to your work.
    I am totally impressed.
    Your blogging sister,
    Connie :)

  2. Thanks, Connie...they were so much fun to do!

  3. Cheryl, these are gorgeous and so so cool! Love the glaze on them and the designs...never thought of doing this, guess you need a kiln so that's most likely why! LOL!

  4. It looks like you are enjoying every minute of your retirement, Cheryl! Your lovely buttons would be wonderful on hand knit sweaters, too.

  5. Oh this buttons are so cute! I'm a great fan of different ceramics stuff. I often do some cups or plates.


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