I’ve always had a thing for buttons, so I’d like to introduce you to my third Creative Feature.
If you’re looking for something different and unique you can’t go wrong with Flourish Buttons and Becky Underwood’s gorgeous jewellery, I’ve got several of her pieces on my wish list! A mutual friend liked Becky’s page on Facebook a couple of years ago, and I couldn’t resist the buttons, the colours, and delicate designs. Becky operates an online store and also regularly attends craft fairs…take a look and see what catches your eye!
Flourish Buttons: Becky Underwood – Creative Jeweller
I love using buttons in my own craft, but what inspired you to begin making button jewellery?
About 10 years ago, when my children were babies, I would make greetings cards once I’d settled them for the night. I used pressed flowers, embossed metal, acetate and you guessed it…buttons (not all at the same time!). I realised then that I loved buttons. Unlike most people, my mum or Nan never had a tin of buttons when I was growing up so I had had little interaction with them. I put my cards in shops and to my surprise they sold! At the time my husband was working for a recycling company and we were quite into reusing materials so I decided to make studs from old buttons, I called them ‘button ears’, these also sold well. One day I was in a wool shop in Fishguard and I discovered 50mm iridescent buttons and thought they would make fantastic brooches, these buttons are the back bone of my brooch designs. It was at the time when waterfall cardigans were very popular and they were great to close those, these also sold well. Then I was addicted, I loved buttons and I loved selling so I began to put together a range. I had to work out how I could hang buttons as the work differently from beads.
How have your designs developed as your business has grown?
Well, initially I had to look at glues and findings, what would work and unfortunately we had a few disasters to start with, brooches that didn’t stay stuck, buttons not hanging well, wire breaking. So I had to really experiment and test, find reliable suppliers of good quality products. This continues to be an ongoing mission. My range is pretty big now, I have taken on trends and customers suggestions and tried to deliver on these. I have realised that simple designs work best.
Do you have favourite buttons, or materials, or colours to work with?
I love to use coconut and shell, they are lightweight and you can get some beautiful coconut buttons that have been lacquered with designs and prints, the shell buttons can be lazered with designs and dip dyed to create a 2 tone effect.
I love bright colours, turquoise, fuchsia, burnt orange but I also like using vintage style buttons and I love to mix the two. I am the same as most girls and like floral, heart and animal designs.
What is your best seller, and do you have a favourite piece yourself?
I have a few bestsellers, dangly earrings always sell well, I think that is common for most jewellers. The best selling layered brooch is:
and from the single brooches:
and the pendants:
What I find interesting is how differently things sell in different shops and so it can be hard making recommendations.
I like the Tiffany brooch and have that on my jacket, I also own a Swallow necklace, Coco Rose brooch, Pink Bird necklace. I would own many, many pairs of earrings but my ears will only allow gold and I am not keen on gold jewellery. My favourite item at the moment is:
What are your future plans with your work?
Expand!!! I have a part time employee, mainly covering my maternity. I am applying for a second Jobs Growth Wales employee, this a scheme that is entirely funded, for a placement of 25 hours per week, fingers crossed that will come through. I have attended several trade shows and I hope to do a lot more of these when my 5 month old baby is older. To keep enjoying what I do but still keep the balance of work and family (hopefully I do that now!)
Lastly, if you could commission anything for yourself, money no object, what would it be?
Ooooh…I love stained glass and I love fabric but have not had the time to explore them. I think it would either be a very elaborate ball gown with a fantastic petticoat or a small three walled house made of stained glass, chunky slabs of glass in a variety of bright colours, especially cobalt blue!
Established in 2008, Flourish designs and hand makes unique and contemporary jewellery using stunning buttons and the finest silver plated findings. Flourish is a small company based in a beautiful part of West Wales in a little town called Aberystwyth.
A high proportion of our buttons are sourced and even made in the UK, keeping our carbon footprint low and supporting our very important UK based button manufacturers We try to keep our conscience so we recycle as many waste products as possible and use jewellery boxes made from recycled card and on occasion a second hand button may be found in a Flourish bracelet as I like to re use beautiful vintage buttons.
Our style ranges from soft feminine qualities and influences from the past to bright colours with big statements. Many of our buttons are made from lightweight materials such as coconut or shell, making our jewellery effortless to wear.