Thursday, 27 March 2014

CASEIN buttoned up!

   Have you ever heard the word CASEIN?  Well you might have heard of casein paint or milk paint which has a  pastel chalky finish and is sometimes used to fake time-worn folk-art furniture.  I came across it when I bought a huge store of buttons from an old lady in Burgundy, France, and when I asked what some very unusual buttons were, she told me that they were only made during a very short period in the twenties, and I found out later that casein was a plastic substance made from the solids in milk and cheese and was produced about the same time as bakelite.  Bakelite was the winning product and casein lost out.  The designs on these buttons and the bright shades were very striking and obviously Art Deco - eye-catching spirals and sun rays, lines and spots in all sizes for jerseys, dresses and  overcoats.  ! bought the lot - several hundred - for very few Francs, and took them all one day to London for the Little Chelsea Fair I always attended.  A young man picked up a card and asked if he might borrow it to show a friend for half an hour.  On his return he said he would buy the lot and seemed quite excited about his purchase.  He then told me he had been on the phone to New York to the Button Society boss (this was before Mobiles) and that he would be taking them over there as they were great rarities and all button collectors would be very interested in them.   Everybody happy!  An unexpected coup like that is always very exciting, even if the profit is not huge!  If you want to see/buy the 4 buttons left over, come to my Rag Mart in Bradford on Avon on Sunday June 15th down in the wine vaults at No 29 Church St.
   I sold every last button very quickly once I knew what they were and then last week I found a cushion cover that I made with a very rough hemp tea towel with green stripes which buttoned up with four green casein buttons;  you can probably see that they must have been sliced from a long roll, rather like chequered biscuits,  or seaside rock sweets,  and they look pretty amateur to me!  Anyway they jogged my memory of all the near look-alikes  I once had,  and if I saw a lot again I would be quick to bag them for my button collectors.
      Trophy  treasure hunting!  I read only today of the scrap merchant who bought a golden egg at a junk sale, kept it in his kitchen, and it has turned out to be the missing Easter Egg  made for the Russian royal family by the great Faberge, worth millions!   Just 200 millions!   Messrs Wartski,  jewellers, who recognised and valued it, once had a family shop in Llandudno and were well known for their fabulous jewellery pieces - likewise Mr Policoff in Pwllheli who sold fur coats - both were pre -WW2 Russian emigres., who must have found Welsh ways very strange - chapel people did not aspire to such worldly riches!  They liked black and gray, very much, for their clothes and houses,  and it was echoed by the stern granite mountains all around, and in the gravel and slate quarries all over Gwynnedd where I lived. 
I wonder where all those wonderful pearl and diamond jewels are now ? I am looking round my kitchen, just in case, as I am a well-known 'scrap' dealer'!
Casein buttons - my sort of scrap.

No comments:

Post a Comment