About Anna McDowell
Dorset Buttons 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. By the 1780s, 4,000 women and children were employed in the industry. They were replaced by machine buttons during the first half of the 1800s. To help keep this heritage craft alive, my Dorset Buttons are worked in the traditional way but I use contemporary materials and designs.
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 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