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Monday , October 23 , 2017
Excerpt from "Through Button Eyes"

Dedication

By Co-Editor David Loofbourrow

Only one of the other writers in this anthology got the opportunity to meet my mother, Elizabeth Stifle Loofbourrow, before she passed in December 2014. But they all got to know her through her creative work. Several of our writers are artists in various mediums, and so were interested when I shared some of the hundreds of displays Elizabeth had made of her extensive button collection – which became the inspiration for our writing.


Only one of the other writers in this anthology got the opportunity to meet my mother, Elizabeth Stifle Loofbourrow, before she passed in December 2014. But they all got to know her through her creative work. Several of our writers are artists in various mediums, and so were interested when I shared some of the hundreds of displays Elizabeth had made of her extensive button collection – which became the inspiration for our writing.

Elizabeth demonstrated talents early in life with painting and music. In her teen years she was already an accomplished pianist and organist. After the war, Mom and Dad moved to a rural town where her community and church often called upon her talents as she raised two boys, maintained a large home and struggled with health issues. She was a part of the town’s growing artist community; her oil paintings, pen-and-ink, and watercolors earned several awards.

Later in life she channeled her creativity into a variety of crafts. Building upon her seamstress and needlework expertise, she took up embroidery art – learning the Oriental style from a local master. When Mom and Dad retired to the Gold Country foothills, she found great joy in ceramic doll making. Although she applied her artistic skills to the painting of the porcelain faces, she soon gravitated to the making of beautiful outfits to dress the dolls. Her custom dresses were widely sought after in the doll community, eventually becoming a national award-winning doll costumer.

In the pursuit of authenticity, she acquired antique materials to make the doll dresses, hats, shoes and accessories for her designs. This rekindled her love for buttons. Beyond the utilitarian use of tiny buttons on her doll clothes, she began to collect these tiny works of art in earnest as she invested in rare, unique, and beautiful buttons found throughout history and the world. Of course, “Button Bettye” wasn't content to just mount them on cardboard (‘cards’ or ‘trays’ as they are known in the button world) stuck away filling binders or filing cabinets. She put them to work decorating the walls of her home in imaginative framed displays. This became all the more passionate when she also fell in love with antique lace, ribbon, trims and fabrics - combining them all into unique works of art.

I often joke that Mom never met a piece of paper she couldn’t turn into something beautiful. Her button cards were just the last expression in a long life of creative joy.

©2016 by David Loofbourrow and/or the author's publishers. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Please see our Disclosures and Disclaimers

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