I have been carrying buttons made by the Incomparable Button Company of South Africa almost since I started Kitambaa Designs seven years ago. These are handmade buttons, and hand-painted too. They're all made of clay, fired at a very high temperature, which means they can withstand washing in a washing machine. If you drop them on a cement floor they will break, but otherwise they stand up very well indeed. I have just put the collection I carry up on my website - www.kitambaa.com - so you can access them easily year round, and not just at quilt shows. The uses for these buttons are endless. The knitters amongst you may see them as buttons on a cardigan, while embellishers will see them as ways to add an extra something to your quilts. Someone sent me a photo earlier this year of these buttons used to decorate the top of wooden boxes, and many people have used them on greeting cards. You may well have seen the wall-quilts I've made incorporating these buttons - the most recent one became one of my "Limited Edition Kits" - "A Gathering of Guinea Fowl" - and sold out almost immediately. There are more designs in the works at the moment, and I'll be sure to post them here as soon as they're ready. In the meantime, I thought you'd be interested in seeing a photo of the women who make these buttons, all dressed here in traditional costumes. If I ever make it back to Johannesburg again, I hope very much to be able to visit them. In the meantime, I am
delighted to be able to carry their products. Perhaps they might challenge you to create a quilt using one or more cards of buttons? Until next time, Happy Quilting!
I am a textile artist and quiltmaker, a teacher and a writer. I have been playing with fabric for over 30 years, the last 15 of which have been spent creating original work and teaching design-based classes. I have a deep connection with the women of Africa, and since 2007 have spent part of each year teaching sewing and quilting to women in Uganda.