After an unsatisfying two year search for a globe for his father’s 80th birthday, Peter Bellerby decided to just build his own. “After all how difficult can it be to make a ball and put a map on it?”, he thought, never actually reflecting that the reason no one was making globes today is because the process was so difficult.
Quickly after starting to make one globe for his dad and maybe one for himself, he realized that crafting a globe means actually much more than throwing a map on a ball. Though Peter Bellerby didn’t give up as most people would probably do at that point.
He painstakingly spent time to create a correct map that he could use for his project, correcting spelling errors and misplaced locations, poring over every inch of the globe, which took him at least 6 hours a day for about a year. He states: “At the start I had to learn Adobe illustrator, which is not so difficult. It’s about as intuitive as the interweb and the email web are to my parents.”
After finally finishing the map, he looked for a ball that he could use for his globe – and was being disappointed again. Turns out that there was no one being able to form a mold that would be good enough to meet his expectations as their slight errors added up, making it impossible to place the map on them. So he had to create his own resin mold to form a perfect sphere, with the margin for error being tiny enough.
In the end Peter Bellerby spent almost two years on his first globe as Bellerby & Co. Globemakers was born. Driven by the poor quality of globes available on the market, he aimed to create the most “beautiful, original and accurate globes ever made.” Today his globes are starring in Hollywood movies, in private collections, in artworks and even in an exhibition of globes by the Royal Geographical Society.
Making a perfect globe takes several months, while the team behind Peter Bellerby has developed their own techniques to make the globe spin smoothly and give it an aged, varnished look. All globes are made to order so each one is unique. Every step of the process is done in-house, so that the team is constantly learning and growing from their mistakes.
We’ve seen and met quite many exciting characters but Peter Bellerby’s imperturbable dedication to a forgotten craft is unique in its way. You can read more about his journey here and follow his work on their blog, Facebook and Instagram.