The Life of Things: The Ball


After advice from my tutors, I decided to sign up to the STACK magazine subscription service. I thought that this would open my eyes to magazines and subjects that I wouldn’t necessarily choose myself, as well as developing my cultural knowledge. The magazines that I collect will be a great aid when it comes to InDesign layout. I am always on the lookout for independent magazines, so this subscription will be perfect for me to explore this.

The first magazine I received was, The Life of Things: The Ball, MacGuffin Nº 6. The imagery and illustrations in the issue are captivating and seemless. MacGuffin is a biannual design & crafts magazine featuring fabulous stories about ordinary things.

The magazine explores everything from sport and the construction of the ball itself, tumbleweed and plants, ball-point pen, disco balls, bubbles, architecture, as well as the Metabolism movement and other historical events - I wasn’t expecting such a broad span.

I really enjoyed the, ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ section, ‘Nothing quite captures the spirit of freedom and the great outdoors like the humble tumbleweed, though the best place to study it is indoors, on the shelves of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, London.’ When I think of tumbleweed, I would have never considered them to be balls, however I guess they are the iconic rolling shepherd of the plant world.

The, All The Marbles, section has the most beautiful photography - photographs by Schrltens & Abbenes. In contrast to the slight rough craft paper of the rest of the magazine, these images are printed on a shiny surface, adding to the marbles’ glossy appearance. The marbles are magnified so the colours and details of the balls are crisp; the colour of the ball is mirrored in the background, adding to the seamless appearance.

I now also see a typewriter in a completely different light, ‘In a society dependent on information and communication, a small sphere covered in characters allowed typefaces to grasp the zeitgeist or ‘match the mood of your correspondence.’ The hitting ball.

I was so interested in the range of connotations around the Ball as a motif and the different interpretations of what is considered a ball. The edition uncovered the personal relationships we have with the stuff that surrounds us. It has really made me start to look at other objects in a new light and consider what other things would come under the same category.


LeisureRachel Fox