Inspirational Buttons

Patterson-TenderButtons-6…Tender Buttons has spent September boxing up its delirious abundance, and, when I stopped by recently, Safro told me, “We’re down to the nitty-gritty.” WQXR played as she sorted. “Each little thing needs to be considered,” she said. She found a stray shank button—a miniature wire clothes hanger—that properly belonged in a box labelled “homage to Calder, Picasso, & Matisse.” She wants to send the box to Alexander Calder’s daughter, whose daughter used to work here.

Per the store’s Web site, “Tender Buttons is temporarily closed.” (Emphasis added.) It is part of Safro’s process to say that the billion and one buttons are only temporarily going to a storage warehouse in Long Island City. The bulk of them, anyway. Safro, who is eighty-five, says that she keeps forgetting to return messages from major museums…

Buttons.jpegIn the 1980s, when Amie and I lived in New York, this was a place we knew. The cousin of a close friend was a manager of the shop, and we visited from time to time. The friend made the shadow box to the left, a gift on the occasion of announcing our wedding engagement.  All the three dimensional objects in it came from Tender Buttons. Reading this brief homage to Tender Buttons does not just conjure memories of the visits, and the occasion of receiving this shadow box, one of our personal treasures. It goes well beyond, helping me understand where some of our inspiration for Authentica comes from.

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