Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Painted Apple Juice: The Detained Rose

There was a time when I only dreamed of owning a button so frail and exquisite. Emily Dickinson, when she wasn't scrawling her lifetime's verses in secret genius, was famously fond of pressing beloved peonies and sweet-peas from her backyard's garden and that's what this button reminds me of: a page out of the poet's herbarium. Fashioned at the back, deeply carved-out folds form the roundabout petals of this epic rose, which was probably sculpted in the mid 1920's. The whittled section was then painted an earthy pink that gives the gaping blossom the look of a conserved object hovering inside of a tarnished glass blister. Like the etched cluster of grapes that I posted as yesterday's feature, carved and painted apple juice buttons have the appearance of ancient pictures sunken under a shallow pool of honeyed faerie urine or some other amber-hued sealant. This is where Bakelite branches off into a strange, ethereal and nearly-forgotten art form.

-Sherbert McGee     

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