Balls – My experiments

Ball stripe motifA journey in experimental archaeology

As I’ve been working on research I realized that people were saying the same things over and over about balls. It’s one of the problems with research, unless you go back to the sources, folks end up working from that same sets of speculations. So, in order to test things I started making balls.

Ball moon star motifI’ve done them out of leather and fabric, both. One of the things that I had the worst problem with was making balls that were ok for my kids to throw at one another. Ok, I have 5 boys, but they *did* all make it to adulthood. I don’t think that would have happened if I used some of the period ball fillings! The rag core balls, even wrapped with wool, are *very* hard! …let’s not even go near pebble fillings…. and the one time I was sure of a concussion it was caused by a croquet ball, which is solid wood. ….So, those were right out.

beachball2 motif…and period balls didn’t bounce the way we expect things to…..

So, I’ve used all kinds of softer things. The modern fillings in the list are all things that I’ve tried. I don’t have pictures up until this year, though. So here are some sets of pictures.

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Recycled Denim and lentils – No, they didn’t use foods in period as fillings, although it’s remotely possible that inedible foods would have been. As a child I made balls filled with persimmon seeds and squash seeds, so inedible seeds are a possibility. I haven’t seen any evidence of that, though. The denim is from recycled worn-out jeans.

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Ball Two – Denim and Lentils

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From prep for the toys workshop

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From the Toys Workshop at Bar Gemels 4/18/15

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So another ball filled with thread waste this time.

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Next experiments in 5/15 – Machine sewing and setting up more fills and balls.

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More in process…. These pix from June ’15. Since TRH this time have 4 kids, a bunch of us are trying to make sure they have toys to hand out.

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Pictures from July through October 2015

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Ball and fillings display

…is in progress… project for Alpine Scholar competition…. pictures coming.

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In ministerio autem Somnium!
Page Created 6/2/15 and published 6/2/15 (C)M. Bartlett
Last update 11/10/15


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