I/Eye: On Photography

Exclusive Buttons

Posted in Artisans & Merchants by Sheila Newbery on June 19, 2010

From the Artisans & Merchants series: Vince Sortile of the Exclusive Buttons shop (El Cerrito, California). Vince’s store is tiny, the stock super-abundant. Walk into the place, and you can imagine what it must be like to be an acquisitive starfish ensconced in a sunken treasure-chest…

Vince’s father was a green grocer in Berkeley, but the business was not congenial to a seeker of treasures. In the 80s — and on into the early 90s, during the height of the savings & loan crisis, Vince bought out the button stock of failing five and dime stores around the country, and thus slowly, patiently enlarged his collection. A history of buttons lies enfolded in this place’s miniature splendor: the flamboyant beauty of artful specimens fabricated in materials no longer being produced is just one starting point…

Vince Sortile of Exclusive Buttons (El Cerrito, CA, 2006)

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