| Corozo |
I’d like to introduce you to our new range of Corozo Buttons. It’s taken us a long while to source the right buttons. As with everything we do, we felt we didn’t want to add more stuff for the sake of it. There needed to be a reason, a value to them, a problem solved. And I say us but it has really been Mr.M’s job. This is what he did in the real world before he became a teacher, and so has a wealth of relevant knowledge and experience regarding all things trimmings and haberdashery.
So these buttons are beautiful. Smooth and tactile, with a lovely natural grain. An interesting bevelled shape but classic and timeless. They take dye really well so are available in some lovely colours, while being very durable and scratch resistant. They are sustainable and eco-friendly, from a renewable source, non-toxic and natural so will eventually biodegrade. Our Corozo buttons are manufactured here in the UK.
What is corozo? It’s an excellent alternative to plastic buttons because it’s a 100% natural product! In fact, Corozo was a really popular material to make buttons from many years ago – until that is, some bright spark decided it would be a good idea to produce everything cheaper and quicker without long term thought for the consequences and so it fell out of favour. And most of the UK button factories closed. Corozo buttons are made from the nuts of the Tagua palm tree which grows wild in the rainforests of Ecuador, Peru, Columbia and Panama. Ecuador is the only country in the world producing and exporting the Tagua blanks used to make Corozo buttons.
But aren’t we trying to save the rainforest? YES, WE ARE! The fruits of the Tagua tree each contain about 30 seeds or nuts and drop naturally when they are ripe and ready to use. It’s just a case of collecting them before being dried in the sun. There is no point picking them earlier as they are no good to use, they have to fall naturally and so no trees are harmed. The trees continue to produce fruits for about 100 years, making it a renewable and sustainable source, so there is no need for deforestation. Collecting the seeds is done without causing any environmental impact, in fact, it helps. If the local communities can make an income from the rainforest, the rainforest will survive. The seeds fall naturally, the forest animals eat the shells and local people collect and sell the seeds to make an income, allowing them to live off what the forest produces and in return they care for and protect the forest. It helps the local economy and has helped create thousands of fairly paid jobs.
Tagua seed uses | The seeds are not just used for buttons. Due to its appearance, it is also known as vegetable ivory and is used as a replacement for ivory in jewellery making and many handicrafts. That’s got to be better than taking ivory from elephants – BBC NEWS REPORT
Tagua powder is being used as a replacement for microbeads in exfoliants by the beauty industry.
Plastic fantastic…Now I’m not saying chop off your plastic buttons, throw them in the bin and replace them with Corozo buttons – throwing things away isn’t helping. Buying thoughtfully and thinking long term can help. So when you are in need of some buttons consider what would be best for the planet…a natural, biodegradable, non-toxic, sustainable option or umm, plastic?
We don’t plan on selling or stocking any newly produced plastic or polyester buttons, there’s enough knocking around the world already. It’s not like they are going to disappear and decompose any time soon. Apart from the Corozo buttons, the other buttons currently on our website and sold at shows are vintage (produced over 20 years ago), many from my personal stash. Keeping them in use seems a better idea than throwing them or hiding them in shame. We just don’t need to produce more of them. It’s too damaging. When it comes to restocking our buttons, we intend to source natural products.
I JUST HAD A THOUGHT…If you do find yourself with spare plastic or polyester buttons and you don’t want to use them or know how to dispose of them, send them to us and we’ll collect them. Don’t worry I have no intention of selling them but we will do our best to pass them onto charities, schools, artists, makers or crafters who will use them. They may possibly sit in my kitchen for a while until I work that out. The aim is to keep them useful and out of landfill. If you are someone that can make use of such buttons, let us know. I’m hoping we can provide some kind of a button recycling/reuse system. The only rules are; only take what you need and they don’t go in the bin. It’s not a perfect plan, but it could be a start.
We have 4 sizes and 4 colours of Corozo buttons to choose from a small 18 ligne (11mm) shirt button in natural, and the bevelled buttons (above) are available in 24 ligne (15mm), 32 ligne (20mm) and 40 ligne (25mm) in brown, navy, grey and natural.