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Bottle Cap Basket

Probably ca. 1935
Origin: America, North Carolina, Morganton (possibly)
Overall: 9 1/2 x 9 x 8 1/2in. (24.1 x 22.9 x 21.6cm)
Commercially manufactured bottle caps, iron wire, wood, cardboard, and paint
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles N. Gignilliat Jr.
Acc. No. 1977.808.4
Fifteen rows of bottle caps are stacked upon a round, green painted wooden base to create the wall of the basket in a pattern resembling the overlapping of American bond brickwork; each vertical row of caps is secured with wire that is attached to the base. Four semi-circular arches of caps strung on wire are attached to the top of the wall of the basekt, two each on either side of a large, semi-circular arched handle that is attached to opposite sides of the top of the basket. This handle is composed of a stack of caps strung on wire.
Label:The Great Depression sparked an inventive recycling of materials previously considered trash. Bottle caps were plentiful and readily available; threaded onto heavy-gauge wire, they could be shaped into a variety of utilitarian forms and sold as curiosities or kept for personal use. This basket was attributed to Walt Epley of Morganton, North Carolina, when it sold at a Charlotte flea market in the 1970s. Little is known about the artist, but research suggests that he was a timber cutter employed at a Morganton sawmill around the time that this piece was made.
Provenance:Found by AARFAM's donors at a flea market in Charlotte, N.C.
Mark(s):Bottle caps have the names of various soft drinks silk-screened on them. The only full place name found on the bottle caps is "Gastonia (N.C.?) Bottling Co." Another states in part, ". . . . eville, N.C."