Giving and Receiving of Buttons

Reflections from Write Yourself by Gillie Bolton

I love Gillie Bolton’s writing. It is vibrant and warm and I settled to read Write Yourself with delight.

She includes an exercise where group participants choose buttons that represent or symbolise The others they give them to. As she details the process and the participants’ excitement GB evokes a form of gifting where the participants learn that as we give we truly receive. The anticipatory pleasure of something as beautiful, tactile and useful as a button evoked a Christmas feeling;the last -minute -deep breath-anticipation just before sleep knowing that delight will follow the dawn.

Then I wondered, what kind of button another person would choose for me.

Serviceable and useful it would be a round wooden button , smooth and polished at the front, yet roughened in places. There’d be a few snags at the edges and it would be sewn with a scarlet thread through four holes at the centre in a criss cross. I love criss cross stitch. It brings to mind infant school after noons where we were taught running stitch, and criss cross and allowed to make bookmarks using embroidery silks split into three skeins.

I like the shape of the word criss cross on the page, and when I say it it feels more onomatopoeia than sibilance. However it was the only fancy stitch I could execute and not all that fancy, really. Which is why my button would be plain, but stitched with a single vibrant colour.

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