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Monday, Aug 8  2:00–3:00pm

Introduction to the National Button Society by NBS President Lou Yeargain

     If you are a new member of the National Button Society, this workshop will be very helpful to you. Lou will explain the benefits of membership in the Society and the NBS website. She will share memories of her first show and answer any questions you might have about our annual convention.

     Lou Yeargain, President of the National Button Society, has been active in NBS for 28 years serving in many capacities with two special accomplishments. One stemmed from her relationship with her father, who was a farmer and wore overalls most of the time. Consequently, she was attracted to overall buttons, and she and her friends revised the Descriptive Catalogue of Pictorial Overall Buttons, Wobble Shank book.

     Second, she helped Paul Rice with the Button Country website, which serves as an educational resource for NBS members. Many of the pictures in Button Country are from her personal collection, and the worksheets are the result of one of her brainstorms.

Monday, August 8    7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

One of the Wonders of Wisconsin, THE CIRCUS, and How it Influenced Button Designs  

by the Button Buds of Northeastern Wisconsin

     Back in 2018, the Button Buds were asked to do a Friday evening program for WSBS highlighting one of the Wonders of Wiscon¬≠sin, which was the show theme that year. We had never done that before ... ever! What would we be qualified to present? After much thought and trepi¬≠dation, we decided upon “The CIRCUS.” 

     The circus theme is of special interest to Kathleen Marquardt, one the Button Buds. Many years ago, her father, James Rhoda of Wausau, Wisconsin, created a fabulous miniature circus modeled after the Ringling Bros. Circus. He named it, “The Rhoda Royal Circus,” and it sparked our interest and inspired our presentation.

     In this encore program, NBS members will experience the sights and sounds of the circus as seen in the miniature circus, on circus posters and, of course, on buttons!

Thursday, August 11      3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Satsuma Buttons and Buckles: Stories about Japan revealed through the artists’ paintings

by Nishida Akiko and Nancy Bank Allen

     Twenty-one years ago, two new friends, one from Japan, and the other from America, began a journey to tell a story about the paintings on Satsuma buttons. They did not realize how many fascinating stories would be revealed through the artist’s paintbrush. Through the kindness of ninety-one collectors, they were given the opportunity to view about five thousand Satsuma buttons. With the one thousand they selected, paintings revealed stories that began over a millennium ago.

     At this presentation you will be introduced to Akiko and Nancy’s work, which will serve as inspiration for you to search for Satsuma buttons to match the stories in their book.

     The soon to be published book will bring to life images from folktales, legends, folk religion, historic figures and much more, as depicted on the buttons. Painter’s signatures are identified, as well as historic locations. Read more than 130 stories that connect with the paintings on Satsuma buttons and buckles.

     Nancy’s interest in Japan began at the age of nine when she journeyed there with her parents to live for six months. It is an interest that continues to this day. Akiko majored in English at Sophia University in Tokyo, wanting someday to visit America. The connection came when Nancy’s daughter, Laura, who spent an AFS summer with Akiko and her family, brought them together at her wedding in San Francisco.

Friday, August 12    11:00 am -- Noon

History and Study of Goodyear Buttons

by Joy Worn with Susannah Jordan

     Goodyear buttons are fun to collect! They are made in America. They are Division I. They are a closed set and can still be found in poke boxes. The assortment of face designs, back types and back mark variations make for interesting study. This program will cover the basics while showing some of the more desirable ones to look for when collecting or competing.

This program was researched and written by Joy Worn. Joy is a member of the Missouri State Button Society, where she served as a club treasurer for a number of years.

     This is her second program to be presented at a national convention. The first was in 2015 on button hooks. She has served as a Division IV Delegate on the National Classification Committee and written a number of national articles on Division IV subjects. Presenting the program will be Susannah Jordan. Sue has been a button collector for 50 years and a button dealer for 20 years. She is a past Division IX Delegate to the Classification Committee and a past national president. At the 2009 convention, she presented the program, "Rubber, A Black Bottom Feeder." This was the last time national had a program on rubber buttons.

Friday, August 12    2:00pm – 3:00 pm

A Perspective on Enamel Buttons by Karen L. Cohen

     What button collectors see and what the speaker, enamellist Karen L. Cohen, sees when viewing enamel buttons are not the same thing. Her knowledge of enameling affects her perspective, and she is interested in sharing this with everyone.

     Ms. Cohen will present various aspects of enamel button constructions that will provide a better understanding of these little treasures. She will also include some information about the enameling process and other areas that will enhance the listeners' understanding of their enamel collection. Feel free to bring your enamel buttons to the talk for specific questions.

     The first time Ms. Cohen made enameled jewelry was at summer camp as a teen. As an adult in the 1970s, she started taking classes in metals and enameling and never stopped. Originally only making jewelry, since 2009 she has concentrated on creating studio buttons in enamel, metal, beaded fabric and gourd. She still creates jewelry, though, and also makes other objet d'art such as wall pieces, dolls and more.

Friday, August 12    7:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Clowns & Kings & Fires & Rings by Gary Brockman

     Clowns on buttons, clowns at the circus ... clowns, clowns and more clowns!

     They're popular characters in cultures worldwide and notable clown fans from

     Catherine de Medici to George Washington to Charles Dickens have extolled clowns' virtues and admired their dedication to their unique art.

Explore the surprising history behind the development of clowns as we know them and discover the remarkable impact of the circus on American life in the 19th and 20th centuries.

     Life's a circus and Gary Brockman's is no exception. He tripped over buttons in 1993 while working as an editor-in-chief of science at Scholastic, Inc. and ultimately exchanged a life in publishing for a life in art. Gary has served as a National Button Society director and classification committee member; as Wisconsin State Button Society president and editor; and as a contributor to the National Button Bulletin. He and his partner, John Jacobson, are familiar faces at button shows across America. Gary is the author of the book Wearing the Moon: Navajo and Pueblo Silver Buttons.

Saturday, August 13      1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

A Beginner’s Guide to China Buttons by Inga Ladd

     China buttons present the perfect choice for beginning collectors. They are easy to find (even in your average poke box), may be rather inexpensive, and can be very enjoyable for collectors to sort and categorize.

     In this presentation, you will learn to differentiate china from glass, get tips on how to organize your china collection (by body type or other characteristic), gain an understanding of basic china button terms and learn what constitutes a rarity. You’ll be able to view sales sample cards, see china buttons on original period garments and have access to work cards to assist you in organizing your own collections. Attendees are encouraged to bring in china buttons you may have questions about or would like to have identified.

     Inga Ladd has actively collected china buttons for over a decade. She maintains the China Button Exchange website and has been working on a new publication about china buttons over the past few years. She has led workshops for the Midwest Regional Button Association and helped lead talks on china buttons for the NBS Winter Button Fest and 2021 Unconventional Convention. In addition, she has created numerous china button work cards which are available as free downloads from the China Button Exchange website. When not actively tracking down and researching calico patterns, she works as an attorney at a small law firm in Southeastern Missouri.

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