Anna McDowell | Products | A giant Dorset Button! |
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About Anna McDowell

Dorset Buttons is a heritage craft unique to Dorset. The Dorset Buttons Industry originated in Shaftesbury, Dorset, in the 1620s, and became a major cottage industry throughout Dorset creating employment for many families. To help keep this heritage craft alive, my Dorset Buttons are worked in the traditional way but I use contemporary materials and designs.

Further Info

Specialised in
I first came into contact with Dorset Button about ten years ago whilst Chairman of Gold Hill Museum, Shaftesbury. I taught myself how to make a Cartwheel button from a kit, one of the four designs of the Dorset Button range. I later learnt the finer details from an experienced buttoner. There is no formal training for this craft and over the years I have developed my workshops to try and emulate original buttons. My work includes both small bespoke buttons for garments to large circular wall hangings. My aim is to help to keep this tradition alive and I use the original methods to make my Dorset Buttons working with contemporary materials. Today my inspiration comes from using textiles and yarns that are either local or produced by small independent people, ethical reclaimed sari yarns and vintage yarns, ribbon and lace. I also incorporate beads into some of my buttons.
Open to the Public?
Yes, by appointment only
Provides Course / Training
Available for Craft Fairs
Available - please ask about pricing


The Studio, Undercliffe Cottage
Donhead St Mary

A giant Dorset Button!

Earlier in 2016 I set myself a new challenge to make a giant Dorset Button. So here it is. The button is worked in the same way as a traditional Dorset Button with a modern design, like many Dorset Buttons I’ve made in the past – just on a much larger scale.

For the ring I used a 24 inch (61cm) hula hoop. After several months of careful planning, the decision on yarns I was going to use and how I was going to construct the button finally came into fruition.

I eventually decided on a mix of strips of a Designer Guild fabric to cover the hoop. For the ‘spokes’ and centre I used Mulberry silk natural double knitting yarn. The rest of the button is filled with a mix of reclaimed sari silk and other fibres, vintage black ribbon and further strips of Designer Guild fabric. Buttons with shanks, both old and new, from my button box embellish the design and add further texture.