Posts Tagged ‘balls’

Duct tape ball in situ at the Falls of the Ohio

At first it looked like any other ball among the wood chips and I almost passed it by.  After all, balls are the most common toy that I find at the Falls of the Ohio State Park.  But something told me to look more closely at this one and that’s when I noticed the network of filaments that were eroding away on the surface of this silvery sphere.  Picking it up, I then realized I was holding something different and to my mind and eye a bit more fascinating too.  Yes, it is a ball, but one made from duct tape!

handmade ball collection

Over the years I have found several other handmade balls made from different materials and they always elicit wonder in me as artifacts.  There is something in the human need to create form from formlessness that is at the root of creativity and can be seen in this eccentric collection.  I think this can happen reflexively too without deep thought being involved. The largest of these balls would fit comfortably in the palm of your hand and is slightly smaller than an American baseball.  Since most of them are made from various tapes…I’m guessing they are the waste products of work.  What began as something relatively flat gets transformed by the mind and hand into a fully satisfying three-dimensional object that you can grasp, throw, or roll.  For me, there is something appealing art-like in these objects which began life as one thing and by shifting its original purpose and function becomes something entirely different.

two found duct tape balls

Here are two duct tape balls I have found by the river.  The one on the left is pictured on the wood chips and its partner has vestiges of dried paint or primer on its surface.  The spheres are created by layering one flat piece of tape over another until a ball is formed.  It is not necessary to create a ball to dispose of this waste tape, but this is what their makers did…and then it wound up in the river which is yet again another story to ponder.

two balls made from electrical tape

These two balls are made from stretchy electrical tape and are tight and dense.  I remember that the very first handmade ball I found was also made from this smooth black tape.  When my eldest son was a small boy and needed a project to do involving recycled materials… I helped him construct this circus pull toy from materials found at the river.

recycled materials circus toy with handmade tape ball

At the heart of this toy is a handmade ball made from electrical tape.  My son thought this would make a great prop for a circus lion to stand on while it jumped through a flaming hoop!  Of course, the only fire we actually used came from our imaginations.  The yellow plastic lion was also found at the river and has a nice oily patina on it that comes from being in the river for a while.  Here’s a smaller ball made from green tape.

ball made from green plastic tape  I’m sure people are making balls from paper-based tapes too, but these don’t survive being exposed to the elements for very long.

peeling cellophane tape ball

This ball made with cellophane tape is barely holding together.  It’s surface is fragile and the adhesive is losing its bond.  As it starts to peel apart, sand caught between the layers is released.

compressed aluminum foil balls


The four balls pictured here are made from compressed aluminum foil.  Perhaps they were used for cooking and once their original purpose was over, the owners rolled the foil around the palms of their hands like one would do to form a ball from either clay or snow.  The funny thing about aluminum foil and the river is that the water somehow squeezes it even more and the ball becomes denser and more solid.  Anyway, I hope you enjoyed looking at this rare and somewhat tongue in cheek odd ball collection where the sum is definitely greater than the parts!  Spring will be arriving soon and the Ohio River is calling…until next time.

electrical tape balls

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On my last walk at the Falls of the Ohio I came across so many found round objects that I thought a few photos of them might be fun or interesting so what the heck. I’ll start with the first orb I came across which was an  osage orange fruit also called a hedge-apple around here.  It looks somewhat brain-like because of its texture.  There are also a few genuine and fake baseballs in various states of decomposition thrown in for good measure.  I also found another plastic orange…that one will go into the Fake Fruits and Veggies Collection which keeps growing with each trip to the river.  The day began cool and frosty, but warmed up with some sunshine after noon.  Alright now and without further delay, here are the photographs.

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Over the weekend I went to the frigid Falls and was amused by all the balls I found that recently washed up during a period of high Ohio River water.  So, I photographed what I came across to add to my Balls of the Ohio Collection.  This is a subset that includes balls with snow on or around the white stuff.  As I write this, Louisville and the surrounding area is expecting more wintery weather tonight with accumulations of snow and ice.  It is, however, going to be nothing like the amounts that have already hit parts of the east coast! When I walk my familiar stretches of the riverbank, I hope that some day, I might eventually find something of value, but instead it’s stuff like this or worse!  For your pleasure, here are more balls that were washed, thrown, or kicked into the river to land at the Falls of the Ohio.

The first ball shown is a regulation size basketball in yellow and purple.  I think those are Los Angeles Laker colors?  I followed that with this rather small, but patriotic, flag-inspired ball I photographed with my hand over my heart!  I recall seeing tons of flag-inspired everything in the aftermath of September 11.  For three years after that event, I photographed many things I came across in Louisville bearing either an American flag design or inspired by the stars and bars.  I reasoned that my city was not that much different from what was happening in the rest of the country and was thus representative of the country at large.  It was an interesting experiment on how the meaning of something you think you know is changed by its context.

This golf-inspired, rubber, yellow ball is about the size of a baseball.  Over the years, I have found several spheres of this exact type.

This Spider-Man ball was the most colorful ball that I have found in a while.  Judging from its condition, it must not have been in the river very long.  The image above is one side of this ball…here’s its opposite side.  Makes me want to break out in song…”Spider-man, Spider-man, does whatever a spider can…”

This was a bit of an oddity, I found a couple balls with numbers on them.  I think this was inspired by the lottery or bingo?  Number 6 anyone?

We’re Number #1… we’re #1, here’s a soft cloth ball for baby.  At first I thought this was a hacky-sack, but realized upon approach, it’s too big.

Lastly, I came across this regulation sized football in the process of washing up on shore.  Although it doesn’t have snow on it, I did find it at the same time I came across these other balls.  It was only after I got home and downloaded my pictures, did I see that there is hand writing on this pigskin.  When I go back to the river, I’m going to try to find this ball again.  It might have an interesting message written on it that will offer a clue to where it originally came from.  Until next time…

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