Big, small, coloured, round, square, ornate, cloth or enamel. On shirts, pants, dresses, suits - you name it... what would we do without buttons?
And our button jars. Remember spending ages helping mum sort the buttons, making patterns with them, using them as money in games - and being shown how to sow them so mum didn't have to?
Lucy Godoroja doesn't call her self a button collector, but she has always been enthralled by them.
Her passion didn't stem from poring through her grandmother's button box - both grandmothers were refugees who fled their countries of birth with very few possessions.
"I was introduced to the fascination of buttons from the age of five during my frequent trips to the fabric store, where my mother would search out fabric for the garments she would make for herself and for us children," she writes in her new book All Buttons Great and Small.
Lucy was "capitvated by the revolving stands of buttons sewn onto cards in neat rows, ordered by colour, in a multitude of styles".
That love saw her open her own button shop and cross the globe in search of buttons old and new.
Friends and customers brought in their button tins, happy to pass them on to someone who appreciated them.
"There seems to be a calming element for people in sifting through an accumulation of buttons, carefully scrutinizing each one, looking for a set that may or may not be there, the thrill of the hunt," she writes.
So how long have buttons been around? Early versions have been found in excavations in Egypt, Iran and Greece dating from about 6000 BC. They were made of bone, wood or teeth, wrapped in animal tendons to form a loop.
Lucy looks at the wide variety of buttons - the glitter and glamour of glass, enamel and ceramics, plastics, trends and themes.
And koumpounohobia - the fear of buttons. Evidently one in 75,000 people has the condition - and Lucy has met several. Some wouldn't have clothing with buttons (Lucy points out that a very famous koumpounophobic was late American business magnate Steve Jobs), some did not even want to be in the company of someone wearing buttons. Button shops were generally out of the question!
This richly illustrated book offers a history and celebration of the humble button, highlighting its beauty, versatility and longevity.
It's full of fascinating facts and crafty inspiration - perfect for sewers, collectors and designers.
All Buttons Great and Small: A compelling history of the button, from the Stone Age to today, by Lucy Godoroja (Exisle Publishing), RRP $49.99.
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