Monday, November 2, 2015

Apple Juice & Rootbeer: My First Bakelite Buttons

Nearly ten years ago I saw this pair of Bakelite buttons in an antique store in New Hampshire. They caught my eye and on a whim I bought them for $8 each, thinking I'd lose them to a messy drawer the way trinkets disappear into the rubble of so many forgotten keepsakes. These were different though. Admiring them more closely under the light at home, I began doing research on "Bakelite" and speedily became intrigued by the beautiful plastic of the 1920's, 30's and 40's. Bakelite evokes the Jazz Age. From swinging flapper beads to the cigarette lighter on Jay Gatsby's escritoire, it's got a debonair vibe. Within a year, I became a steadfast hunter of the stuff--scouring antique shops across the USA for more and more buttons in all the famous colors of Bakelite: cherry reds, intense greens and dazzling nuggets of sunny butterscotch. Soon, my collection grew into a respectable stash and then a stockpile and finally a bona fide mine. Today I'm up to my chin in thousands of Bakelite buttons (and some swanky, Bakelite buckles too). At any rate, this is where my collection began and here is the blog that will chronicle the whole shebang. As for the two buttons above, in Bakelite world, these colors are called "apple juice" (left) and "rootbeer" (right). Both buttons remind me of varying shades of amber and have a nifty energy to them that's hard to describe. They really kind of are like slices of baked light. Stay tuned for more...

-Sherbert McGee 

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