SEQUIM — Everyone wears clothes, but it’s a good bet most don’t give much thought to the buttons holding their garments together.
There are indeed people who do give thought to the seemingly everyday fasteners.
One of those is Gloria Skovronsky, a 20-year button enthusiast and collector and the president of the Peninsula Button Club.
The club will host, for the first time ever, the Washington State Button Society Convention and Show today and Saturday at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites, 1441 E. Washington St.
The State Button Society Convention is free to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
Skovronsky is about as animated as it gets when talking about buttons, their history, collections, the convention and her fellow club members. Her husband, Tom, is at the same level, having written two books on the subject of buttons.
“When my husband and I take a vacation, it’s to a button show,” she laughed.
Although an artist by profession, Skovronsky’s interest in button collecting began while working for a company in Bellevue that sold buttons. Skovronsky was asked to take the buttons to sell at a show in Seattle.
“I walked in and fell in love [with the buttons],” she remembered. Inevitably, she began collecting all sorts of buttons.
Now, Skovronsky breaks into a bright smile whenever showing one of her shadow boxes neatly arranged with buttons from around the world, from antique to modern, some more than 200 years old, most from trading or finding treasures online at sites such as eBay. Her favorite? Twentieth-century buttons that accentuated clothing of the era.
For the convention, button buffs from Oregon, Idaho and Western and Eastern Washington will travel to Sequim with their button collections in tow to share with one another and visitors, buy and sell, and simply enjoy the company of those who share a deep interest in buttons.
A button, Skovronsky said, can sell anywhere from 5 cents to $1,000, depending on its age, condition and the “gotta have it” factor.
One of the highlights for attendees is the annual button competition. Buttons must be displayed in 9-inch-by-12-inch shadow boxes, which are then hung on racks throughout the convention room. Judges — one experienced, one new — and a clerk decide on prizes for winners.
“We have 37 awards,” Skovronsky explained, “from $1 to $5, depending on the display. It’s the ribbon that’s more important than the prize.”
“It’s truly a lot of fun,” she said, adding an invitation to “bring your grandmother’s old can of buttons and let us tell you what they are all about.”