SHELL BUTTONS FROM SOCHOCIN
Button manufacturing in Sochocin used to be a remarkable craft that flourished in the area now supported by the “Friendly Mazovia” Local Action Group. As it happens with many other trades, it had to give way to more cost effective and thus cheaper technologies. Buttons from Sochocin were already produced in the XIX century from shells collected from river Wkra. They were sold in Warsaw, Łódź, Cracow and even St. Petersburg. This extraordinary period in the history of the region and Sochocin itself lasted for over fifty years, from the 1870s to about 1930s, and is still fondly remembered by many. The recent resurgence of interest is partially due to the 2009 opening of the Button Production Chamber located at the Municipal Center of Culture in Sochocin. The inspiration for the creation of this chamber came from the descendents of button producers in town. It was their idea to protect from oblivion this unique tradition that for many years was an important part of life for local communities.
The exhibition at the Chamber has two parts. One is the history of Sochocin and its button making, where visitors can find copies of important documents, such as the town’s foundation charter and an edict removing Sochocin’s legal privileges as ordered by one of the tsars. There are also photographs depicting the period between the two World Wars and cards presenting button history and memories of people from Sochocin who made these pieces. One of the important elements of the exposition is a board that describes the impact of button making on the development of Sochocin. The second section of the exhibit presents room interiors where hand manufacturing of buttons is demonstrated. There are several pieces of equipment that were used in shell button production such as a buttonhole machine, a turning lathe and drilling pieces. The collection housed at the Chamber was gathered with the help of Sochocin’s inhabitants whose families had often worked in button production for generations.
The entire exposition won the 1st prize in the 4th edition of a competition “The Weeping Willow”: Museum Events of Mazovia. The prize was awarded in the category called “The Most Interesting Exposition Organized by a Mazovian Museum”. It is accompanied by a noteworthy documentary entitled “The Buttons from Sochocin: Remnants of an Old Tradition”. The film showcases the process of shell button making and can be watched at the Chamber, obtained at the Municipal Center of Culture on a DVD, or watched on the internet. The Chamber also holds classes for schools.
As a result of the activities sponsored by and presented at the Chamber, the memory of the bygone craft of button making is nurtured and kept alive.
Location: Sochocin, 8A Guzikarzy St.
Contact: Button Production Chamber, Municipal Center of Culture, Sochocin
ph. 23 661 87 17, www.gok.sochocin.pl
Managing authority of the Rural Development Program for 2014-2020 - Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Website developed by the Local Action Group - Friendly Mazovia Project "What a village is a different song" co-financed by the European Union under sub-measure 19.3 "Preparation and implementation of cooperation activities with a local action group" covered by the Rural Development Program for 2014-2020.