Anna McDowell | Products | A Study in Beads |
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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 Study in Beads

This is the first of a series of Dorset Buttons I’m planning to work featuring beads. I love the way beads create a sense of space through the gaps.

I used a variety of yarns including reclaimed sari silk, knitting raffia and hand-spun natural sheep’s wool. The beads in the centre of the button are from my collection. The long beads on the outside I made from paper which I hand-rolled, painted, varnished and enamelled the ends.

This button is worked on a wooden 45cm hoop