I never really think about buttons until I lose one.  However, I wanted to meet some people who think about buttons a lot.  Buttons are a big part of their lives.  

I attended a meeting of the French Creek Valley Button Club.  They meet every month at the Dutch Village Restaurant in Clymer, New York. Members share a love for buttons.  Button collecting, button history, button art, and button culture.

"Personally, I love the history of buttons and the preserving of history through buttons. You can look at a button and it's got a history to tell,” says Mary Jane Koenig, Club President. 

The French Creek Valley Button Club began in 1957 as the Meadville Button Club.  It's now a regional organization with the membership stretching from Westfield, New York, to Franklin, PA.  Erie and Edinboro to Youngsville and Spring Creek. The members learn something new about buttons at every meeting.

Buttons.  These little objects are fascinating.

"It's a very small compilation of anything you could ever imagine, anything you would ever want to study.  So you can hold history in your hand,” says Ginny Stanton, of Erie.  

Button clubs exist all over the country.  There's a state and a national button society. Members are always looking for buttons to buy or trade.  Unlike baseball card collectors, these people do not obtain a button for its value.  It's all about the art and the history.

"The materials, the designs, the intricacy, all make them very special,” says Judy Sharer, of Youngsville.  

Some members make their own buttons. Karen Smock, of Edinboro, enjoys making buttons that were first made centuries ago in Europe. These are the same kind of buttons that many immigrants wore when they came to the U.S. throughout the years.

"Just the joy of being able to reproduce them and bring them alive again is just so important today.  So many of our traditions are lost,” says Karen.  

At the meeting I attended, each member of the button club talked about their favorite buttons.  Also, I received a special gift.  My first special button.                 

Now I can start a collection.

The French Creek Valley Button Club will be hosting members of the Pennsylvania State Button Society this weekend. The society's Fall Button Show will be held at the Bayfront Convention Center on September 23 and 24.  The public is invited, especially those who are interested in joining a button club.