290 Peter Myers


My girlfriend works for the Free Library of Philadelphia and often enlists me and our other friends to volunteer (i.e., come hang out) at events they hold. In the spring of 2015, the library held a rooftop beer garden fundraiser, which featured, in addition to the standard alcoholic entertainment options, a button-making station. The set-up was simple: colored pencils and markers; circular templates featuring designs ranging from geometric to rococo; a two-part press that crunched the transparent seal and metal backing into place. As volunteers, a friend and I (she’s an artist, I am not) were posted at the button-making station. Ostensibly, we were to be assisting the guests, but inevitably we took the button-maker over ourselves. Once we got bored with the pre-made templates, we started finding other things to put in the button-maker: leaves, flowers, and parts of napkins we scribbled on with markers. This button is my favorite of the ones we made: it features this tentacled green abstraction that, to me, occupies the strange void between alien and plant-like, a self-aware algal growth. For a reason I can’t quite remember (was it raining when we made these? I remember it being chilly and windy that day, uncommonly cold for late spring), the napkin became wet enough for the marker to run once we made the button, giving our alien plant a watercolor softness, an ethereality that only showed up after the fact. For several months, I kept this button pinned to my backpack, but it eventually started to fall off so frequently that I decided to retire it, not willing to risk the loss.