December 1, 2010

a carved busk?

The illustration and pattern of the 1844 corset show a busk that would have been made of wood, or ivory, or baleen. Often busks were carved and given to a lady as a token of affection. This one from the Nicholson Whaling Collection at the Providence Public Library is one of my favorites.

© Providence Public Library (identification number 008)

I love the naïve quality of the artwork. It's carved on whalebone and you can see future Sailor Jerry's tattoos on this busk. Here is an older one made of wood that was carved in 1783 and is part of the Pinto Collection at the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery.

© Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery (accession number 1965T600)

Below is an even older metal busk from the 17th century belonging to The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute.

© Metropolitan Museum of Art (accession number 30.135.32)

Look at the detail of the tiny portrait carved in the metal. Nice.

Notice how they are all decorated? I feel like I should jazz mine up with something. To fit the mock up I can use a couple 1/2 inch wide steels, but for the finished corset wouldn't a decorated busk be nice?


  1. Lacis sells decorated busks.

  2. The first is my fave! Is it true that the sweetheart carved the busk? (and is that an option for you....?)

  3. Thanks Anonymous for the Lacis tip! I was wondering if there was a 1"wide piece of hardwood available somewhere or if I'd have file something larger down.

    VandE, I don't know any men who whittle in their spare time. :(

  4. What an interesting blog you have here! Thanks for dropping by Fashion is my Muse and leaving a comment so I could find you. I too have worked my way through many of the projects in that book but I admire your tenacity to do each and every one. I'll have to come back and read over your older posts.

  5. You could buy a wooden busk from a corset supply and then carve it or paint it yourself :-). A dremel tool is handy for carving little designs :-). If you don't already have one, here is a wooden busk from Corset-Supply, but I haven't found them anywhere else (besides Lacis):

  6. Oh please make a carved busk! I would be so amazing, although one would have to pull it out now and then to show off the decoration. I love the gold portrait on the metal one, they are all lovely though.

  7. Thanks for showing us these, I have never seen a busk before and always wondered what they looked like. Appreciate your blog, and love the skilful work you do, you are obviously a perfectionist and I love that. xx