The California Crafters Club of Etsy (CCCOE) is a group of independent artists, crafters, & artisans from California who sell their wares on

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Artist Profile - Allies Adornments

Happy February everyone, it's time for a profile of another amazing California artist. This month is all about Allies Adornments. Have a read; I love the surprising bits of her family's history that pop up in her shop.  
Describe your shop.
My shop is AlliesAdornments on Etsy. The official name is Allie's Antiqued Adornments & it's where my family history mingles with my love of vintage & art in an attempt to share antique buttons as miniature pieces of art.

  Allie is my great-great Aunt & the namesake of my jewelry line. I use her picture from 1878 in the packaging for my button bookmarks.  

A photo of Allie & Louise (my great grandmother) from 1881 is used to package my button hairpins. The smiling girl wearing a crooked hat was a young cousin of my great grandfathers & this image of her from the early 1900s is my online avatar & tags for my button jewelry.

Allie passed away at the young age of 31 and never had any children. The way her items & image have sparked my creativity is her legacy. One thing that my family believed about "things" was that they needed to be used in order to be properly appreciated. That we should let those things bring you joy every day instead of locking them away for special occasions.

When my great aunt gave me her collection of vintage buttons, many were so lovely that I was inspired to find a way to use & enjoy them more often. Some I sewed onto sweaters, coats & scarves. But because most of these older buttons are too delicate to wash in a modern machine, wearing them as jewelry occurred to me. Allie's Antiqued Adornments evolved as a way to share the romance & craftsmanship of antique buttons as miniature pieces of art.

How would you describe your style?
My personal style is somewhat eclectic. I have an affinity & appreciation for a wide range of eras & art styles. I do have a special fondness for the styling of the Victorian era. In my jewelry I like to use old elements in a way that makes them new again.
When did you learn to do what you do?
I am self taught & started making jewelry because I love to wear a variety of pieces. I began with making beaded jewelry & some strung button bracelets. However, the design on many of the Victorian buttons is lost when they are strung sideways so I searched for a way for them to be displayed & used face up.

What are your favorite pieces to make?
Bracelets are some of my favorite pieces to make. With 7, 11 or 22 buttons I feel like they let me tell a little story in the way I can combine them based on size, color, texture, material & theme.

What inspires you?
For the button jewelry, it's the individual buttons themselves that inspire me. Some are incredibly detailed. When I first started, I didn't clean the buttons much in order to retain their integrity. One day I scrubbed some grime from the center of a button & found lovely copper strip that was engraved with a Greek key design. After that I was determined to gently clean the years from my Victorian buttons in order to return them to their former glory. One of my favorite buttons is a storybook button of the character Yum-Yum from the 1885 comic opera The Mikado by Gilbert & Sullivan. The button is normally brass & shows a Japanese lady holding a fan in one hand & a parasol that forms the background of the button in the other. The fan is detailed with a floral design that is often lost under 120+ years of patina.

Where would you like your shop to be 5 years from now?
In the 5 years that I've been on Etsy, my sales have been fairly consistent even with price increases. For the next 5 years I'd like to step it up to the next level. To do that I know I'll need to increase production & list more product. My goal for the past couple of years has been to get 300 items listed in the shop. I've come close many times but feel its ok to not quite get there if it means the new pieces are selling. Being able to make a living making button jewelry would be ideal.
How do you spend your time when you're not creating?
When not creating I spend a lot of my time seeking out old buttons to make jewelry with. I love antiques & share some extras in my other shop I moved into a new home last fall & enjoy fixing up the house & yard as well as finding new/old pieces to refinish & furnish it with.

What does your work space look like?
My workspace is always a bit of a disaster & since I moved a few months ago, I'm still juggling how I like things to be organized in the new space. My work is never as straightforward as having one piece that I can put together in single sitting from start to finish. There are always dozens of projects in various states of completion. The buttons often have to be cleaned & prepped & often that prepping requires that the shanks be cut off & backs carved down so that the buttons can lay flat. Many of the pieces, like my most of my bracelets, are going to have 2-3 layers of jewelers epoxy used to securely adhere the buttons. 

As a result, there are always lots of piles of things. Piles of recently acquired buttons that need to be sorted; to be cut or used for charm bracelets & not cut. Prepped buttons then need to be organized into drawers. Designs are laid out, findings are added & then pieces are put together. Start to finish can be a week or more for certain items to allow for drying times.

What is your favorite thing to have for breakfast?
Bacon. I could easily eat bacon every single day.

Where else can we find your work?
In person, my gallery pieces can be found in Old Town Sacramento at
Antique photos & postcards are on the blog at my website for others to use in their artwork

If you're interested in being profiled, just contact Julia A. This post contributed by Julia A. of the BackLoop


  1. Thanks Julia for an awesome feature on an awesome person and fellow crafter!

  2. Allie is such a talented artisan. I really enjoyed reading about how her family inspired her creations. What a great way to honor the memory of her great-great Aunt Allie. Love her work!!

  3. Loved this as much as I love Allie's adornments -- some of my favorite earrings came from her shop. Thanks for a great post!

  4. Love hearing the story behind Allie's shop! Great feature!

  5. what a wonderful blog - love the personal touches and using real photos photos for displaying the lovely items.

  6. Allie, loved reading your story and your work is Amazing!

  7. I just love her shop and am honored to call her my friend. Thank you for posting this interview, I learned some new things about one of my favorite etsy artists!

    1. Great interview! Awesome artist! I love how you provide people with the fascinating detailed history of the buttons you find. It shows how much you truly care about these pieces you are creating. I don't know how you do it!
      Thanks for sharing this slice of my friend's life.

  8. Alright, Allie! Proud of you, girlie :-) I love antique buttons as well and Alyssa really finds some beautiful pieces. The enamel buttons on the bee pendant are a prime example of the exceptional pieces she uses to create her lovely jewelry.

  9. Congratulations on a fabulous feature Allie! Love love LOVE your creations, truly amazing miniature pieces of art! ❤

  10. Many thanks to Julia of the Backloop for the opportunity to be featured & for all the work she does on the blog.

  11. I really enjoyed reading about Allies Adornments! Thank you for great questions and answers!


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