There’s a champion of button makers in Merrion Square


(This is where my champion lives… the sign is ceramic… a sign?)

We went to Dublin on Saturday and parked in Merrion Square which is beautiful at this time of year and on a Saturday there’s usually a few parking spaces.  Last Saturday there were loads of parking places when we arrived. They have new parking meters that only work with credit cards and in fact don’t work very well. There was a queue of people trying, unsuccessfully to purchase tickets so we joined the queue. Surprisingly the queue was very upbeat, probably a bit of a siege mentality, everyone working together against the common enemy. We were all throwing in our tuppence worth of advice and slowly the queue shortened.


(Detailed drawings…. kinda)

While I was waiting I noticed the meter was right outside the offices of the Craft Council of Ireland. Their website says they are “the main champion of the craft industry in Ireland, fostering its growth and commercial strength, communicating its unique identity and stimulating quality design, innovation and competitiveness.” Well, I thought, wasn’t that synchronicity, here’s me working away on my bag of clay and here’s the offices of my champion. The right place at the right time. I think I’m okay for a champion at the moment but if I do need one…


(Potential Bunting)

So to keep you up to date with that bag of clay, it’s slow, but it’s best if we don’t dwell on that part. The best part is working with the clay. As I was saying I started with a few buttons. There’s a few days work in any endeavour with clay no matter how little I produce. First the clay needs to be in workable form and I’m finding it too wet to work with when it comes out of the bag so on day 1 I rolled out a handful between two sheets of cling film and watched it dry… On day 2 it probably needed to dry some more but I wanted to start so I used my square cutter and cut some potential buttons… yum!


(Buttons with maximum added holes. Slip is like glue for clay, thanks Dei for the recipe!)

On day 3 I was too busy 😦 to do anything so covered the clay with the cling film and a damp cloth. One of the absolutely amazing things about clay is it will wait for you… I mean it will stop drying. Ok not necessarily always or at every point in the damp to dry continuum but enough for me to be excited. And the reason I need it to stop drying is that there will be a point where it is too dry to work with 😦 and in order to make a potential button into an actual button I have to add some holes. Adding holes to a dry square of clay causes the potential button to loose it’s potential and turn into a broken mess. The perfect point of dryness that I’m waiting for is called leather-hard. So now we’re up to day 4 but I forgot to take off the cling film… so…


(Cute little apron)

At this point, to cut a very long and detailed story short, I have some buttons, some bunting triangles and the cutest little apron. All these are experiments as I wonder where to go next, but something unexpected has happened. You might remember I don’t like this stage where I don’t know where I’m going next? Well, yesterday as I was rushing out to an appointment, leaving my clay behind I realised that if I was lucky enough to be able to do stuff with clay everyday for the rest of my life that would be as perfect a life as I could imagine.

Of course I forgot later when I was rushing back to make dinner but I remember again now, Mairead.