Saturday, April 19, 2008

My beats per minute never been the same

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Almost two years ago I embarked on a project to make buttons. I had a collection of these nicely rounded, flattish shells, and all they needed was holes drilled into them to make a quirky present for my mum. Mum loves buttons. That might even be a small understatement.
shell buttons

The drilling of the holes turned out to involve perhaps a few more frustrations than I expected. After some trial and error I worked out a method that worked acceptably. Each hole was started using a 'grinder' drill bit (one meant for a Dremel tool but it goes in the normal drill just fine) to sand away the shiny surface and make a small depression. Then I was able to drill the hole with a standard drill bit. It took a LONG time to drill through each shell, especially as I discovered that the last stretch should be done at low speed so that I could stop just before the bit broke through the shell, and then use the grinder from the other side, to make a neater hole.
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When I finally gave the set to mum last year, at least a year after I had started the project, I didn't think she would necessarily use them but I thought they would at least be an interesting and novel addition to her collection. So it was a thrill for me when she made herself a new jacket recently, and used the shell buttons. Smoother side out for the main buttons, and ridged side for the cuffs.

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12 comments:

Michelle said...

Olivia, they are beautiful buttons, and I can't quite get over how very elegant-yet-funky your mum's jacket is.

Djaughan Zelmonde said...

Hey Olma, LOVE that your mum has used those shells! I remember the journey of the making of them - didn't we go to Magnet Mart or some such place to check out drill bits?!?! They look beautiful on the jacket.

Donna Lee said...

The shells match the jacket perfectly. What a good pair you two are.

Anonymous said...

I just love those buttons. Make some more and the jacket they go on will be yours - if you can put up with a little of my stuff on it. love you, Ma

Rose Red said...

Those buttons are so great! And they look fab on the jacket. You are both very clever!

Dood said...

Can I just say that I think you are the most freakin clever person I've ever met! I'm not saying that in a stalky-celebrity-fucker way either.

amy said...

Reminds me of wampum. When I took the boys to Plimoth Plantation in the fall, we saw a member of the Wampanoag tribe drilling holes through the pieces of shell using what I believe was the traditional method. I don't remember the details, but he was using water and spinning something in his hands. I have been tempted to make some, especially since our local beach is inundated with quahog shells, but don't want to trivialize something so sacred. Anyway, my point is, maybe the old-fashioned and traditional way of drilling holes into shells might work for you? If you could research it.

And also, the buttons are beautiful. My deck is littered with sea shells. We always bring home buckets full from every beach trip (and we go pretty much weekly in the summer).

2paw said...

Very cool jacket and the buttons are fabulous!!

Taphophile said...

Brilliant!

Alwen said...

Very classy and unique!

I love stuff like that.

Jejune said...

Oh wow, they are so beautiful! They work perfectly on that jacket, too. You have a cool mum :)

donyale said...

I want the Jacket and I want the buttons! Please?.....