👀 Balls to the wall
#377 | I get a kick out of you
There’s really no good way to ease into today’s Thing without making a prepubescent dirty joke, so I’ll get right to it - have you ever thought about balls? Of course, you have. Cricket balls. Tennis balls. Basketballs. I mean, ball games do rule the world of sports for the most part, don’t they?
Wait. What did you think I was going to say?
Anyway, today I’m talking about footballs. I'm not a football enthusiast, but I do enjoy the occasional FIFA World Cup final. I’ve heard my friends talk about football enough that I can name some major players and have a vague idea of which league club is good right now. What I have never thought about, however, is how the balls are made. Until today, when I encountered the Instagram account of Jon-Paul Wheatley, aka @jonpaulsballs.
Jon-Paul Wheatley is a ball maker and ball designer - a profession I never even knew existed. He started experimenting with hand-stitching balls as a youth, and slowly began to use his TikTok and Instagram accounts as an R&D lab showcase of sorts. Every ball he makes showcases either a different material, theme, or concept. Now, he’s gone from making experimental balls at home to collaborations with the likes of Adidas and FIFA. And all his balls are fascinating. The one that drew me into this rabbit hole in the first place is a video where he peels an orange and then recreates a ball using the shape of the orange peels.
Want to learn how balls are made? Jon-Paul also has a selection of resources on his website to get you started on your own ball-making journey, or at the very least, learn a little more about this niche skill. To pique your curiosity just a bit, here’s his absolute beginner’s guide to how balls are made.
That should get you bouncing with excitement if nothing else does.
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