Ruth Meier’s interest in buttons started when she worked at Wellington department store Kirkcaldie & Stains’ in haberdashery in the 1950s but it was her three decades living in Switzerland that really fired her up.
Next month some of the most beautiful as well as interesting buttons from Meier’s 3000-strong button collection will be the feature of a new exhibition opening at The Dowse Art Museum on July 11 entitled, All That Jazz: Deco highlights from the Ruth Meier Collection. The exhibition is a celebration of a heyday in button production, the Art Deco era.
Each button in the exhibition is a tiny work of art that reflects the time in which it was made. Starting with the Art Nouveau in the 1890s through to Art Deco in the 1920s to 1940s, they show developing technology and fashions.
Meier has amassed her collection of buttons over a period spanning 40 years. From her very first button she purchased at an antique fair, Meier says she was hooked. “It was like a love affair and I couldn’t stop,” Meier says.
The Dowse senior curator Emma Budgen says they chose to showcase the Art Deco era because of the strong design quality of the buttons. “For those with an interest in textiles and fashion, particularly visitors to the region attending WOW (World of WearableArt), this exhibition will be an opportunity to see something very special,” Budgen says.
The exhibition runs until 31 January 2016.
Photo by Mark Tantrum