I’m Caitlin M.F. Hornshaw. I’m 30 years old and I live in Pasadena, California, with my husband Phil and our two kitties, Kiwi and Xander. I grew up in Michigan and graduated from Central Michigan University in 2009 with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and an emphasis on News Editorial.
Throughout the last 10 or so years, I have worked for publications that include The Grand Rapids Press, The Metro Times, Between The Lines Magazine, Six Degrees Magazine, Splash Magazine, Appolocious (A Yahoo! mobile tech site) and several local/community news publications.
I decided to create For The Share of Flair some time ago, when I realized that even though there was quite a bit happening in the pin space, there just wasn’t any dedicated source for pin-related news.
Corporate art theft remains a constant issue, with artists like Tuesday Bassen and Rosehound Apparel forced to enter into David vs. Goliath lawsuits with major brands, like Zara and Forever 21. Enforcement of intellectual property laws in China is weak, and so many smaller, lesser known artists’ designs are often stolen without their creators ever seeing a cent. Major brands are now sending cease and desist letters to young artists for selling fan-made pins on Etsy. And the community continues to grow, as new artists begin designing and manufacturing their own brand of enamel pins every day.
And then there’s the humanity behind the pins: the story of how one great idea kicked off an artist’s pin business. The reason why one collector started snapping up a specific kind of horror pins. How one comic book store creative director chooses which pins to sell and why, and the people who turn up every week to buy them.
I’m a collector who is continually amazed by the beautiful pins that artists create—and I’m a professional journalist who believes that the pin community deserves to have its story told, in real time.
There’s no one right way to enjoy your pin collection.
Some collectors like to put their pins on banners or inside of frames and place them prominently on walls in the home. To keep them safely tucked away in a drawer or box. To wear them one at a time to zhuzh up a look.
In my case, I like to wear mine. All of them, all at once. I’ve never weighed the thing, but it definitely has some heft to it. I like to joke that I’m “basically bulletproof” when I have it on. Within my collection, there are smaller collections: ’90s nostalgia; mermaids; protest; and cats. I am interested in all kinds of styles and genres of enamel pins, though. (My vest even has a handful of non-enamel pins.)
I haven’t counted them out in a while, but I have somewhere around 150 pins on display. While this number might generally be considered “small potatoes” in the pin community, it makes a bold impression with regular non-pin folk. Children and adults alike tend to ogle at them and ask me a lot of questions. I get reactions every time I wear it out in public—even in Los Angeles (which I think is saying something.)
If one pin in particular stands out to curious stranger, I will always provide the name of the artist who made it. My denim vest isn’t quite covered in pins, yet, and I don’t have a plan for what I’ll do when I run out of space. I imagine that I will be very stressed when that day comes.
A life-long passion
I started collecting enamel pins in 2015 (thanks to a surprise gift from a friend) but I now realize that I have had a life-long attraction to flair.
My mother attended Catholic school throughout the entire duration of her education—from preschool, all the way through nursing school. While my sister and I were taught entirely in public institutions, Mom liked to sometimes dress us like we also went to parochial school: plaid skirt, white tights, white shirt, navy blue sweater and navy Mary Janes.
I hated it—but managed to tolerate it because would let me accessorize with a small plastic pin that looked like a red Crayola Crayon. Lots of artifacts from my childhood have been lost, but somehow, I still own this little pin.
When I was in high school, I carried around a tan corduroy messenger bag whose strap I had covered with button-style pins. I would wear my bag cross-body and I thought that the belt of pins draped across my torso made me look super cool.
It was a mix of vintage pins from my dad’s collection, a few pins from my childhood (“Give a hoot! Don’t pollute!” and “Grab a book and read!”) and ones smaller than the size of a quarter (these were popular at the time) that advertised what kinds of bands I liked. My favorite was one of my dad’s—a faded typography design that read “Yes, there really is a Kalamazoo.”
Some of the buttons were so old that they didn’t have a safety clasp. I found that the buttons would pop off easily and their rusty, pointy ends had the tendency to stab me on occasion— so I secured the actual needle of the pin to my bag’s strap using hot glue. I have slightly modified and perfected my method so that it also works with protecting my enamel pins.
After I fell in love with enamel pins I spent a lot of time looking at them online. I started curating a weekly collage of pins I called the #pinwishlistroundup in May of 2016. Each week, I created a list of the top nine pins I was crushing on at that moment, and tagged all pin-makers. I look back and realize that this was For The Share of Flair in its infancy.
I look forward to continuing to tell the stories that are important to the enamel news community. If you’re dropping a new pin, have an event coming up, someone has stolen your original design, or you have another story idea, please feel free to DM on Instagram @for_the_share_of_flair or email me at Caitlin.M.Foyt@gmail.com.