Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’ll be using manicules (those pointing finger symbols) to direct your attention to something I’m pondering that delights or interests me. Each entry is somehow related to an unusual, obscure, or simply charming to me word.
F is for…
fandangle – elaborate ornament; nonsense; useless or purely ornamental thing
Word nerd that I am, I keep a running list of words, adding to it whenever I find a new-to-me one that delights me. When I first found fandangle, I suspected somewhere I’d find that it originally meant an ornamental dangle hanging from the end of a hand-held fan. Alas, that wasn’t the case, and in fact, the etymology of the word isn’t known, although there is speculation that it might be somehow related to the Spanish dance called fandango. Still, in pursuit of my original theory, I confess I fell down quite a rabbit hole researching the history of women’s fans, their various iterations and style changes across changing fashion periods. For someone who is definitely not a fashionista, I do find historial fashions fascinating. But part of the joy of falling down rabbit holes is that you never know where you might be led, and my meandering nature delights in that.
Rob Brezsny, Free Will astrologer and author of Pronoia, wrote a horoscope for my sign that read in part:
“We humans have put buttons on clothing for seven millennia. But for a long time these small knobs and disks were purely ornamental — meant to add beauty but not serve any other function. That changed in the 13th century, when our ancestors finally got around to inventing buttonholes. Buttons could then serve an additional purpose, providing a convenient way to fasten garments.
That really delights me for all sorts of reason. I love the invitation to think outside the box, but I also love the reference to buttons as I happen to be quite enamored of them – collecting them and using them in various art expressions. I often switch out boring buttons on clothes, replacing them with those I find more delightful. For several years I was commissioned to create button jewelry, and it was pure delight to hunt down fabulous buttons in fabulous colors to use. That work taught me lots about buttons and deepened my love for them in all their myriad of types. I especially like big art deco Bakelite buttons, moonglows, and fabulously-carved mother-of-pearl buttons. I’m currently working on a project in which a 7-pointed star is a prominent image, and I like keeping this MOP button out to remind me.
Besides being amused by the word fandangle, I’ve allowed myself to hold it as a lens to see my world and wonder. I’m always curious about how people see things – which is one of the reasons I truly love the A-to-Z challenge. So many opportunities to peek in other’s worlds, brains, and ways of seeing and holding the world.
I can look around my home and imagine many people would think it’s filled with fandangles. While I have no deire to dissuade anyone of that opinion, it helps me gain greater clarity on what I think. I want my world filled with beauty, and I have many objects I consider beautiful.
I recemtly discovered the writing of Jeanette Winterson, and I’m currently reading her Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery. I’m moving through it slowly, taking time to ponder each essay, I absolutely agree with what she says:
” I do not believe that art (all art) and beauty are ever separate, nor do I believe that either art or beauty are optional in a sane society. That puts me on the side of what Harold Bloom calls ‘the ecstasy of the privileged moment.’ Art, all art, as insight, as rapture, as transformation, as joy.”
I hold that to be true.
And there you have it. I’ve managed to meander my way from fandangle as useless and/or elaborate ornament to a life philosophy about art and beauty. Bet you didn’t see that coming.
What about you? Are you a fan of fandangles? Know how to fandango? Ever dangle a hand fan from your wrist in a fashion statement? Have something to share about beauty or art? Do tell – you know I love to hear.
We all need more fandangles in our lives. They bring color and joy. I thought of Queen when I saw the word, probably because they use “fandango” in one of their songs.
I like your way of thinking Margaret – more fandangles for all! Queen also came to mind for me as well, and I may or may not have have sung my own cover.
What a word…fandangles….seriously a toz is enhancing my vocab so much 😉
Jewelry designing must be so enticing
Would take a look at ur work after a to z madness
Is it on blog?
Dropping by from a to z http://afshan-shaik.blogspot.com/
I always feel like I come away from April’s A-to-Z enhanced too – it’s one of the best aspects for me. My to-read book list grows exponentially, I’m introduced to new-to-me music, and I learn tons of things I’ve never even thought about before. Such fun!
There’s not really a place to see my jewelry Afshan – these days I only occasionally make pieces for myself or as gifts. There are so many other creative projects to give my attention to – I wish there were a a hundred more hours in every day.
Another word that is just plain fun to say. I like your idea of an ornament dangling from a fan. Also love your button.
I know Janet – words that delight the tongue are extra sparkly fun aren’t they?!
I find art — various types — to be an ornamental delight. Paintings and jewelry and fabric arts and woodworking… All of it!
It’s great when art is functional, but I don’t much care if it is or not. Likewise, there are functional items that, to me, are purely decorative. I have an early 1900s sewing box in my living room, for example. It’s ffunction is not being utilized; it is purely a decorative piece and I find it delightful. Perhaps this once-functional object has become a fandangle in my keeping. 🙂
A fandangle vintage sewing box – how perfect Mrs. Fever!
I’m rather hopeless around boxes and drawers (I have a number of apothecary chests with numerous drawers) – I can’t resist putting little treasures in each. Some of the earliest dreams I remember as a child was visiting this magical shop filled with drawers and various containers that held an ever-changing variety of treasures. Sometimes I’d get so excited when I found myself in one of those dreams, I’d wake myself up. Even to this day, I occasionally find myself in dreamtime walking down a street and coming upon that magical store, and I ALWAYS find the most magical things in there.
Art and beauty are absolutely essential for sanity. Especially now in a conflict filled world.
I have never dangled a fan from my wrist. But I did possess two exquisitely handmade ladies’ fans – one Burmese painted paper one with a silver handle and another Egyptian one of textile and lace. Both at different times and both gone out of my life now. Your post stirred up happy memories, thank you!
Yes, yes, yes – more art, more beauty always! How lovely those fans sound, and I’m glad you had a chance to appreciate them as they passed through your life.
I’m a fan of fashion and you know it:)
Fashion or adornments are art, are they not? Wearable art– an expression of joy.
I’ve used buttons to enhance plain coats and jackets. And I do love looking at buttons in haberdashery aisles.
Do you have pics of button jewellery you were commissioned to create? I’m curious.
So, to fans–I bought an old, old feather fan from an antique show–I love it– can’t be used but it makes me happy. A friend (from Spain) gave me a gorgeous Spanish fan once as a thank you present. I’m waiting for an invitation to go flamenco dancing so that the fan may accompany me;)
Your fans sound fabulous Arti – and it’s good to know you’ll be prepared when the flamenco invitation arrives. How fun would that be?! I don’t actually know the dance, but I can stamp with the best of them, and I’d love a ruffled skirt – surely I’ll be good to go.
I’m absolutely onboard with you – I think we should adorn ourselves in ways that bring us joy. I’ll have to poke around and see if I have any photos of my button creations. I’m not entirely sure I do, but it would be fun if I did. I have a few stories to tell about that period in my creative life and perhaps I’ll blog about it.
Please blog about that period and share—would love to read.
p.s. ruffled skirts—just the thought makes me dance:)
I’ll happily blog about it sometime. And I thinking what the world needs is more ruffly-skirted dance parties. Makes me grin just thinking of it.
As I began to read, I immediately considered googling “Fandango” from the Queens song Bohemian Rhapsody ;-)))
Do I have something to share about beauty or art? I do! It’s a quote from the movie “Toy Story 2” and goes like this: “you can’t rush art”. You probably have to see watch the movie to appreciate it.
Ooh, like you I sort of hate the modern fashion world and industry, but am fascinated by historical fashion. Like you I especially love mother of pearl buttons (that star-shaped one is amazing!) And like you I was amused to discover how late a discovery buttonholes are. I have a reference and a little bit of a joke about it presented as a “Fun Art Fact” by the oddball character in my middle grade book, precisely because I was delighted by it!
F is for Flight
The fact that you included a “fun art fact” in your book delights me. Now I’m imagining a world in which every book contained such an inclusion. Doesn’t that sound marvelous?!
Thats a totally new word to me! its great to ready about your love of buttons! I like the word (and thought) flow in your post! Especially this view of the AtoZers “So many opportunities to peek in other’s worlds, brains, and ways of seeing and holding the world.”
Thanks for stopping by my blog! Have a great day!
Thank you for your kind words, and for stopping by. Here’s to a wonderful A-to-Z time.