Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Split Pea Super Button


Moss-tone Bakelite was not on my wish-list when my friend Doreen showed me this unusual button, but I was so stricken by its bizarro set of carvings that I knew I had to add it to my collection. Doreen sold me the button over a year ago and I'm still wowed by the disparate elements of design with its arched stripes, outlying stars and scooped-out spots that run through the midsection like patches on an exotic turtle. Somehow, these combined details remind me of a superhero costume that might've decorated a 1970's comic book character. For its odd blend of animated features, this button wins my constant approval. Split pea Bakelite, circa 1930.

Visit Doreen's online store
Click here: BUTTONS FROM THE ATTIC


-Sherbert McGee

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Eclipse


I should've posted this button last week in celebration of the solar eclipse that had the whole country putting on cardboard spectacles. This Bakelite burst of sunshine is an eclipse all by itself with half of the button seeming to overlap with the other in a contest of textures. Dating back to the 1930's, this brightly swirled majesty is a classic example of orange juice Bakelite.

Visit Doreen's online store
Click here: BUTTONS FROM THE ATTIC


-Sherbert McGee

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Black Trout


Carved into a pattern resembling fish scales, this jet black button delivers a venturesome effect that's both elegant and dramatic. Hailing from an antique dealer in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I saw this fishy enigma resting among a dozen other black buttons and grabbed this one on account of its mighty character and killer looks. Powerfully stylish, this button tested positive for Bakelite. 

-Sherbert McGee

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Shiny Pills: 2-Tone Oddity


Looking at this button, I never really know what to think. It's like someone took three vitamin tablets and smooshed them into a clump of yellow silly putty. The "tablets" appear dark brown in this photo, but in person they're more of a highly polished burgundy. Both colors tested positive for Bakelite. I'm not a big fan of this button, but maybe one day it'll grow on me.

-Sherbert McGee 

Friday, August 25, 2017

La Chocolaterie


La chocolaterie is French for "the chocolate factory" or "the place that sells chocolate" and here's a handful of Bakelite buttons that warrant this bit of trivia. According to my blog's tracking system, the second largest portion of my worldwide audience is France. So these buttons are for you, Gaspard and Heloise. The round buttons pictured here could literally pass for malted milk balls. (Whoppers, anyone?) To keep them from rolling, I stuck them down with bits of chewed bubble-gum. The flat button is more of a Hershey-shaped confection. It was discovered by my sister in Arizona who was able to determine that it is indeed Bakelite by giving it the sniff-test. Most antique dealers don't mind if you smell the goods, but sometimes you do have to ask for permission or you could get ejected from a place. (This has never happened to me.) At any rate, my thoughtful nephew sent me this chocolatey square earlier this month and I've been eager to post it to my blog. And that concludes this humble assortment of Bakelite delights. Merci beaucoup.

-Sherbert McGee    

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Collectible Things


Perfectly illustrating a carved Bakelite button, this creamed corn collectible could be the definitive example of a simple albeit nicely sculpted piece of the vintage plastic (c. 1925). Aside from Bakelite buttons, I also collect hippopotamus-shaped figurines, antique toys, original paintings, out-of-print books and Jazz Age sheet music, but it's the buttons that are by far the most addictive.

-Sherbert McGee 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Golden Holed


Here's a dandy little button made of faux tortoise Bakelite or rootbeer. At the 9:00 mark on this old treasure, there appears to be a crack, but that's just part of the interior streaking and not actually a damaged spot. My favorite thing about this button is the golden holes (which are probably brass). This button harks back to the 1930's.

-Sherbert McGee

Monday, August 21, 2017

Popeye's Dinner!


Creamed Corn Spinach Bakelite is on full display here with this absolutely hypnotic button. Swirls of yellow Bakelite permeate the green to create this weirdly hallucinatory effect. The Bakelite is backed up with a brass base, or a plate for what I'm calling Popeye's dinner. I have several other buttons in creamed corn spinach Bakelite, but none as perfectly vivid as this unusual specimen. It almost looks like the gaseous surface of a distant planet.

Visit Doreen's online store
Click here: BUTTONS FROM THE ATTIC


-Sherbert McGee   

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Great (glittering) Gatsby


It's been over four years since the 2013 version of The Great Gatsby was released in theaters nationwide. I'd been looking forward to the movie for a long time since the novel is my favorite book and I'm a devoted fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald's literary summation of the Jazz Age. A week before the movie came out, I'd made up my mind to hit all the antique shops I could find in Long Island and that's when I chanced on this major zingera literal jamboree of apple juice Bakelite with a thick red stripe lumped between a galaxy of glitter. Massive and celebratory, the button encapsulates one of Jay Gatsby's over-the-top shebangs in the fictional town of West Egg. A surviving token from last century's legendary era of excess, this mega-sparkler is my one and only Great Gatsby button.

-Sherbert McGee


It was one of those rare smiles 
with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, 
that you may come across four or five times in life.”
 ―F. Scott Fitzgerlad, The Great Gatsby

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Bedazzled Submarines


Technically toggles, these massive buttons were fixtures on a fur coat in the 1920's or early 30's. Designed in the art deco style, they remind me of submarines with their cylindrical rotundity. Aside from the eye-catching stripes and the abundant glitter in the apple juice Bakelite, my favorite feature on these glamorous subs is the elongated, diamond-shaped top sections that protrude upwards. Totally lucking out, I found these buttons at an antique expo a few years ago in New York City.

-Sherbert McGee 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Art Deco & Stardust


Talk about puttin' on the ritz!!! Zigs 'n zags galore, this art deco button might sport a few nicks and smudges, but the style remains (and oh! what style). I'm posting "glitter buttons" every day this week and this one might be my favorite with its seven pieces of chocolate Bakelite and bedazzled apple juice Bakelite all nestled together like a voguish jigsaw puzzle. Way too snazzy!

Visit Doreen's online store
Click here: BUTTONS FROM THE ATTIC


-Sherbert McGee  

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Toggle Tuesday: Sparkle Box


Here's Day Two of my week-long chapter of buttons featuring teensy flecks of aluminum confetti. Each of these unique buttons is a literal treasure chest of cascading stardust. Today's example is a six-sided toggle with orange Bakelite capped at both ends. The centerpiece is apple juice Bakelite and as you can see in this photo, it's absolutely flooded with enough shredded foil to celebrate a flapper's birthday party during the rip-roaring 1920's. WooHoo!

-Sherbert McGee  

Monday, August 14, 2017

Glitter Fortune


Last month I posted a button filled with cascading glitter with the promise that I'd focus on an entire week of "glitter buttons" in the days ahead. Guess what, friends? Today begins Glitterati week and here's a scintillating hunk of apple juice Bakelite housed with a rainstorm of tinsel-bits. The shape of this button reminds me of a Chinese fortune cookie and in this case, the fortune is a literal explosion of flyaway light particles.

-Sherbert McGee 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Antiquated Butter


As Bakelite ages over the decades, it seldom stays true to its original hue and can become quite extraordinary color-wise. For example, here's a button in a richly darkened yellow tone that rides the line between creamed corn and mustard. Once upon a time, this button might've been much lighter and may have even been white! The elongated octagon-shape reminds me of a Chinese lantern, carved with dramatic gashes that form a design reminiscent of gilled butter. I find this button to be downright seductive. From the 1920's.

-Sherbert McGee 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Pressed Rarities


In the world of Bakelite, "pressed buttons" present a lighter form of the plastic as opposed to the heaviness and density of a more typical button made of Bakelite. Here's a set of hard-to-find triplets with faintly pressed details that remind me of star-shaped spokes. These pressed buttons tested positive for Bakelite, but what makes them especially unusual is their coloring. I rarely find pressed Bakelite buttons in tones of rootbeer. 

Visit Doreen's online store
Click here: BUTTONS FROM THE ATTIC


-Sherbert McGee

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Mississippi Bog Blossom


It's been a while since I spotlighted a "Mississippi mud" button. So here we go. Mississippi mud is the nickname for chocolate brown Bakelite that's streaked with veiny flourishes of black. Case in point: this big ole bumpy-rimmed flower. A coat button of chunky dimensions, at its center there's a shallowly etched patch of loopy scribbles that I find interesting. Whether it's wet dirt or a hunk of dark Bakelite, I've never had any qualms with mud.

-Sherbert McGee

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Go-Getters in Red


These red buttons absolutely slay me with their art deco flair and determined shine. What buttons better demonstrate the seductive elegance of cherry-toned Bakelite? Handsomely combed with their grooved array of stylized carvings, these buttons almost look windswept as their matching shadows seem to fly out from beneath them. Powerfully chic, the jet-setting flapper who strutted around town with these on her shirt in 1928 must've been one heck of a dame.

-Sherbert McGee

Monday, August 7, 2017

Blade of the Ninja


Here's an action-packed doozy of a button that takes after a Chinese throwing star, the olden-day weaponry of choice for covert warriors throughout Asia. The bottom layer is a dark tone of orange juice Bakelite while the top section is a spiral shaped set of fan blades in licorice Bakelite. I first laid eyes on this button a few years ago and knew instantly that I'd stumbled on something special. The button was situated in a glass cabinet in New York City at a now-closed antique shop in TriBeCa. circa 1930.

-Sherbert McGee

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Gobs of Green


When I frost a cake, sometimes I like to overdue it on the frosting in order to create a deeply wavy texture of exaggerated swoops and swirls. That's what this button reminds me of with its incredibly plunging surface of dramatic folds. Swamped with overlapping lobes, the make of this extraordinary button is spinach green Bakelite. Notice the subtle bit of yellow capillaries within the gobs of green. Truly fancy and exciting, this button takes the cake.

Visit Doreen's online store
Click here: BUTTONS FROM THE ATTIC


-Sherbert Mcgee

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Sharp-Cornered Custard


How unusual are these stylishly jagged hipster buttons? Made of custard or creamed corn Bakelite (I can't decide), this jazzy pair caught my eye recently with their unique rows of finger-like planks and quirky design of deep-cut lines. Like a surprise in music when you think you're going to hear a certain note, but the song goes elsewhere, these buttons sport that kind of unpredictable spunk.

-Sherbert McGee 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Maroon Hoot


The more I collect Bakelite buttons, the more I prize these harder-to-find maroon specimens. This one is especially interesting. It's a robust and thickly made button with scooped-out dips at the top, which plunge down to the buttonholes forming a sort of number 8-shaped basin. Owing to these side-by-side indentations, this button resembles a pair of wide-awake owl eyes. Circa 1930.

-Sherbert McGee

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Candied Handiwork


Who's been sucking on my buttons? Just kidding. These three Bakelite beauties in highly polished butterscotch (with orange juice swirling) are so reflective that you can see the silhouettes of the trees in the vicinity where I took this picture. The buttons look like buffed sweets and I piled them on top of each other to better show their oddly carved rims, which imitate the sloppy stitching on a rag doll or some such needlecraft. Not your everyday buttons, these are very much a peculiar handful. 

Visit Doreen's online store
Click here: BUTTONS FROM THE ATTIC
 


-Sherbert McGee