Button Blankets

Button-blankets were made from heavy wool and shell buttons which made it difficult to perform ceremonial dance. Blankets trimmed with mother of pearle or shell buttons were for the rich or high-ranking individuals.

The manufacture and use of new material such as lightweight wool have made it easier to sew the blankets, and have given more freedom to dancers. The use of modern materials enables the artist to make fabric art pieces with cleaner lines as opposed to the thick wool melton cloth. Plastic buttons have replaced the traditional mother of pearle and shell buttons.

The background colour of the blanket is black or navy with red as the crest design and outside borders. The main crest is appliqued to the background material and finished with a blanket stitch. The final details are the buttons and the numbers can be as much as eight hundred and as little as four, depending upon the artist expression. The effect is more dramatic with greater numbers of buttons used and the “true expression of a blanket” can only be appreciated by watching a ceremonial dance.

Eagle Button Blanket design by Clayton Gladstone

Eagle Button Blanket design by Clayton Gladstone

Categories: Art

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