With the availability of digital mapping systems, the tabletop globe seems almost like a vestige of ancient times. The globes we do encounter—in our classrooms, or in antique stores—are either cheap and mass-produced or delicate and expensive. In a fascinating project to reinvigorate the art of globe-making, Peter Bellerby of Bellerby & Co. Globemakers is creating globes entirely by hand, from stretching the gores (the strips of paper) and applying them carefully onto the sphere, to painting and illustrating the maps. The process takes at least 6 months to complete, and it’s not easy—without careful measurements, the globe will remain incomplete. Blending science with art, a perfection-derived sense of beauty inspires Bellerby’s work.
Bellerby’s project began when he was trying to find a good-quality globe for his father’s 80th birthday. His options were limited or unsatisfying, so he decided to create his own globe from scratch—an endeavor into which he poured months of research, money, and work. Realizing that there was a lack of globes being made by hand, Bellerby created his studio in 2008. Now, he works with a team of passionate (and patient) artists to bring back this ancient craft, creating everything from mini artisan desk globes to the “Churchill,” a behemoth globe spanning 127cm. His work has been widely recognized, and deservedly so; in an age when Google Maps magnifies and digitally fragments our perceptions of the earth, Bellerby’s globes demonstrate an intimate understanding of and respect for our planet as a whole.