Monday, August 29, 2016

Doubly Dark

Half of the black buttons I own are heavy pieces that came off of fur jackets and men's trench-style coats in the 1920's, 30's and early 40's. This Bakelite twosome was sold to me earlier this summer as a set and probably resided on some very dressy threads once. Relics of high-fashion, they do not make buttons like this anyone. Magnificently carved, each piece is trussed in metal bands for emphasis on the sculpted ovals that lie in the center of these jet-black eyefuls. Possessing an air of real importance, something about these buttons calls for respect.

-Sherbert McGee

Friday, August 26, 2016

Painted Apple Juice

Next month I'm going to post a whole week of something special: Painted Apple Juice Buttons! In the meantime, here's a set of four of them. It looks like these were done in burgundy and white. The paint was applied to carved out dips on the underside of the buttons, creating a distorted "teardrop effect" in the way the design appears from the top. These are a highly prized and unusual spinoff in the world of Bakelite novelty items. More painted AJ buttons coming soon in September. Stay tuned!

-Sherbert McGee

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Chocolate Seashell

Carved into a robust seashell, this brown button is dotted with lackluster gemstones that might've shined once like eye-catching topazes. Alas, these six little jewels are what they called "paste" in the olden-days. In other words, the gems are just shoddy fakes. What's not fake though is the fact that this article of plastic hails from the Roaring Twenties. Outshining its sad jewels, this chocolate seashell is true and timeless Bakelite.

-Sherbert McGee

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Nude Octagons

Of all the colors of Bakelite I've seen, this set of octagon buttons defies categorization. I suppose they are a light tan version of creamed corn, but then again I'd say these buttons are a highly rare flesh tone. Close your eyes, kids! If you melted down a Caucasian Barbie doll and then made a pair of buttons, these might be the scandalous outcome. Big buttons with a sharply outlined target motif, these naked sunbathers tested positive for Bakelite.

-Sherbert McGee 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Dandy Four-Hole

Four-holed buttons in Bakelite are fairly hard to find, but this one's an especially rare thing with its quadruple holes finished in brass. The Bakelite is a no-frills gob of dark rootbeer. Definitely not a flimsy button, the thickness of this one is so substantial that the holes look like mile-deep tunnels. Some buttons have more character than others. This one's obviously a snappy galoot. 

-Sherbet McGee

Monday, August 22, 2016

Prystal Leaf

"Prystal Bakelite" was a brand of Bakelite that scooted away from the original formula by being fully translucent. Here's a Prystal button with a generous patina in its leafy furrows. Hold this button up to the light and it's exactly like looking through a shard of green sea glass from a broken wine bottle. I don't own very many Prystal buttons since I'm more keen on the earliest, solid style of Bakelite. It's more beautiful, in my opinion. Even so, this leaf is a bloggable snippet of classic plastic. Made in the 1930's. 

-Sherbert McGee

Friday, August 19, 2016

200 Buttons!

So dramatic and jewel-like, this old button from the 1920's performs all the razzle-dazzle tricks of classic Bakelite. Every sculpted slant and groove is a shiny intrigue to me. It's like looking at some bizarro fish that jumped out of a magic lagoon. Split diagonally between butterscotch and bright cherry red, I've never seen a carved button quite like this one. Truth be told, I'd probably run into a burning building to rescue this two-tone knockout. Commemorating the 200th post on this blog, I've saved this button for a special occasion.

Visit Doreen's online store

-Sherbert McGee    

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Golden Tsunami

Earlier this summer, my friend Doreen emailed me the news of finding this button, which she later let me buy. In terms of vintage plastic it's nothing too spectacular with a plain slab of dark brown Bakelite as the base for a most striking escutcheon. Look at that undulating design! I like to think of it as a metallic tidal wave. I don't know what the material is, but it's highly reflective. Me and Doreen agree that the motif is Art Deco.

Visit Doreen's online store

-Sherbert McGee

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Yellow Rose of (Not) Texas

For the first time in my life, I finally made it to Texas this summer where I road-tripped all the way down to El Paso. Alas, I didn't find a single Bakelite button on my trip through the Lone Star State. This yellow rose button comes from Santa Fe, New Mexico where the Bakelite isn't quite so hard to find. The central beautification on this old doozy is a glass bead in bright pink. Made in the 1930's

-Sherbert McGee 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Black Dahlia/Black Madonna

Here's one of my shiniest black buttons with an inexplicable carving that looks like a study in experimental Art Deco. I'm calling this button the "Black Dahlia" after the nickname attached to the infamously sliced-in-half actress, Elizabeth Short, whose unsolved murder in the 1940's has always been a macabre point of interest for me. On the other hand, today is Madonna's birthday. Strike a pose! All across Europe, there is a series of medieval paintings and statues in which the Virgin Mary is painted black. These artworks are known as "Black Madonnas" and they are considered holy icons. So I post this button today with a lot on my mind. Don't forget: Black is beautiful.

-Sherbert McGee