Introductions and a bit about my buttons

by melissajeandesign

Hello!  My name is Melissa and I make porcelain buttons and design hand knitting patterns.  I’ll talk more about patterns in upcoming posts, in this post I’ll give you an insight on how I make my buttons.

First I roll a slab of clay with a wooden rolling pin.  I use cutters, (some meant for clay, some for baking) to cut the shape I want.  I make stamps of the design I would like to use.  Usually  these stamps are made from the same porcelain and sometimes from rubber. The edges of the shape are smoothed by hand and the piece is stamped with designs.  I also stamp the back with my signature.

Once dry, the pieces are “cleaned” with a sponge and then painted.  Some are one color, others are intricately painted with many colors. Here a kiln shelf is being filled with painted buttons.

The buttons must not touch each other on the kiln shelf because they expand while firing and would fuse together.  Once all the shelves are carefully arranged, the lid is closed and the ramping up begins, the temperature is slowly increased over 8-12 hours until the proper temperature is reached, approximately 2150 degrees Fahrenheit.  I love opening the kiln when firing is complete to be greeted with a happy medley of color!