The ancient art of globe-making

Sometimes all you need in order to exploit a new passion or even create a new business is to disregard mediocre results from others and get stuff done yourself. This is what Peter Bellerby did in 2008 when he couldn’t find a decent globe for his father’s 80th birthday and started making one himself. What he thought was going to be a long, but accessible task revealed to be a very tough job. But a year later,  he realised he had done something very special and unique and founded Bellerby & Co, Globemakers.  Today, Globemakers is one of only two handmade globe making company in the world and the only handmade globemaker.

I had the most amazing start of the week, as I was exploring their beautiful studios in North London with my friend Alex. It was like an immersion in the past, in a world where things are made with care, patience, love and time. Lots of time. I learnt about painting and I watched the most careful hands placing slices of the world on naked globes. As you know, I’m a traveller and I have this obsession with globes and maps, because every time I look at one of them I learn something new. They inspire me to travel more, to respect planet Earth but they also make feel me so close to other human beings. So, for me, being able to spend a few hours there, it was just one of the most inspiring experiences of my life. In fact, if I wasn’t leaving in 10 days, I’d ask Jade  and Pete to hire me for an internship 🙂

From their stunning studio in Stoke Newington, they do everything from scratch except the fabrication of their moulds which come from Formula 1 experts. Again, as perfection is the main goal, Pete and Jade decided to kill the probability of errors from the start and have perfect globes.  From there, applying the slices of paper and paint them, it’s a very delicate and long process. In fact, a small globe can take four weeks while a large one can take almost a year. At Bellerby, the team is obviously the perfectionist type. They would never let gores (the slices of map) to overlap or compromise quality with wrong latitude lines. And I get his point. I’m a detail-oriented person too: why would you want something, anything, if you are not getting the absolute best? Pete told us that if there is any mistake, the globes get stripped completely and they have to start from scratch again.

It was fascinating and mesmerising to watch Isis paint her way through China heading towards Japan. Pretty much my trip, or part of it. With the touch of her brush she took me to foreign and unknown lands and I think I spent a good ten minutes staring at her hand and being lost in lands I don’t know yet, but I already love.


Today, from this special studio filled with a young and creative vibe in north London, the team of trained globe makers produce high quality globes of all size and style, but they also take commissions for maps personalisation and other bespoke elements. Personally, I’ve already made arrangements for a globe that highlights my upcoming journey through Asia and Australia. I can already see Isis painting her way here, along mine there, so that, in a year time, when I will be back, my real-time travel globe will be ready for collection.

 

Read more about Globemakers here, their blog is one to follow too here, or have a glimpse at their stunning studios on their instagram page, curated by the lovely Jade.

Notes:
Their studios are not open to the public, you can see some of Bellerby & Co globes at Harrods in London and on their website.
I was a guest of Bellerby & Co during my visit. All views are my own.

 

12 Ultimate Ways To Improve Your Lifestyle – Just WFH

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© All right reserved – The Confused Storyteller

Seven weeks ago I started my new job. As you probably know from my previous post, I wasn’t so excited or thrilled by it. The company is amazing, one of the best in the world possibly, but the job itself wasn’t (isn’t) the right one for me.
But, I’ve promised myself to always look at the bright side, so also in this situation, I decided to take the positive thing and smile. In this case, the best part is WFH.
Working From Home is the way forward. Read below why.

1 – I sleep A LOT more

Usually I set the alarm at 8.15am, it used to be two hours earlier before, around 6.30/7am. I’m a late-night person – I can’t fall asleep before midnight or 1am and I have had troubles sleeping for a long time now. You obviously understand how these 2 extra hours I get every morning have improved my life. And my mood.

2 – I ALWAYS have breakfast

For the same reason above, I now have time to make myself a cup of tea or a coffee accompanied by a freshly toasted slice of bread with butter and jam. It’s delicious and it’s a sweet way to start the day.

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3 – I’m an informed person

Now I get to read the news EVERYDAY. While sipping my cuppa, I scan the web and international newspapers for about 15 minutes. I check Facebook and my personal emails too and I feel under control. And informed.

4 – I’m always at the “office” on time.

Despite the fact I wake up at 8.15, I’m logged in and ready to start at 8.30am sharp. I’m never late. I never get stuck on the tube or the bus. It can be raining cats and dogs and I will still be on time.  Magic.

5 – I EAT better

I  plan my days in a way that allows me to have long, relaxed lunches. There is no way I stay in front of my computer eating crap or book myself into meetings at that time of the day (as I was used to do in my previous job). By 12.30/1pm I log off, go to the kitchen and try new recipes or cook some healthy food I’ve bought. Otherwise, if the weather is nice, I go for a walk in the neighbourhood and grab something from the local market. It’s surely something better than the crap food of the cantine in my office or any take-away chains.

6 – I have time to do my daily chores and more

Most of the time, when I take a break, I do my laundry or pass the vacuum cleaner. I ACTUALLY take a break from my laptop and phone and switch off my brain for a bit, which feels A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Sometimes, I just make myself another espresso and walk outside in the courtyard to enjoy a bit of fresh breeze on my skin. Sometimes, I just have a sneaky look at Facebook updates or play a Ruzzle match or text a friend.

7 – NO bitching or office politics

I’ve been in my new job for 5 weeks now (yeah, it already feels 5 months), and I’ve met very few people in person, lots via phone or email and these two means of communication don’t allow bitching or talking behind the back. At least for now. It’s SO refreshing.

8 – Money: SAVING – LOTS – OF – MONEY

If I was to go to the office every day I would spend £170 per month in train ticket. Add to that, lunches and snacks I would need when I didn’t had time to cook  and pack something.

9 – I can always be around for deliveries or the post man

I remember the old days when I had to take half day off when the plumber, painter or my mattress had to arrive. Now, I don’t have to worry. For example now, I’m happily waiting for my DcMarten’s to fall on my laps.

10 – I don’t feel stressed

It could be that this job is bread & butter for me, so it’s just because I got it easy, or it could be that the environment (my home) makes me feel much more comfortable AND focused. I get the stuff done without wasting time in useless conversation or how-are-you-btw-I-don’t-care chats in the office kitchen. Whatever is the reason, so far, I’m not feeling under pressure. I’m not feeling behind the task or struggling. Loving an easy life.

11 – NO WASTE of TIME

Can you imagine a life where you don’t commute? In my case it would be a total of 3 hrs per day, round-trip. THREE vital hours spent in a crowded tube, then in a crowded train and  to finish off a long walk. This is one of the best part of my new lifestyle, I can’t stop saying how relieved I feel of gaining all this time EVERY DAY. It makes a huge difference. I wake up feeling relaxed, never in a rush, never worried to be late. I can make plans for the evening without feeling exhausted by the journey or afraid to be late. I get to go to my French lessons without worrying a bit about my train being late.
My work didn’t get disrupted by the strike. I wasn’t affected by it at all. It’s life-changing, I’m telling you.

12 – I feel comfortable at all times

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Forget make-up and high heels. I used to dress up to go to work before, I used to work in a very formal place where I had to use  grown-up, fashionable, expensive clothes all week long. My wardrobe is still full of that stuff.

I’ve book a charity collection.

That’s my old self. My new self now runs all interviews via phone and nobody can actually SEE me. Most of the time, I wear a track suit and my face feels fresh and clean all day, free from make-up. My hair is often messy, but who cares?
It’s what I say that matter, not what I look like.

And it should always be like that.

Make a Good Story

I watched this video today and it was just the kind of reminder I needed to hear the clock ticking again. It was like a slap on my face which forced me to think that I should do something about my life. Something better and more meaningful.

Who’s not scared of dying without accomplishing his/her dreams? Who can face the idea of living this world without leaving behind some sort of legacy? Or better, who isn’t scared of death?

I am and I guess most of you are too. But how are we meant to write a good story, to use Stephen Cave‘s words, if we are constantly trying to cope with work, family, children, pressure and money? How are we meant to find the time to fill those pages in the book that is our life? How can we make this book a “best-seller” (again using his metaphor). I still have to find out. Someone told me that the solution isn’t trying to do something big, but to find happiness  in the little things of everyday’s life. I have tried, but it’s not for me. I need pace, I need excitment, I need stress too, probably. But most of all I need to feel my blood running through my veins first of all, in order to feel. To feel anything.

I have decided that my 2014 first resolution is that every single day, I will find time to do something that I REALLY like doing. It might be something little, like reading or something more demanding like writing. Or it could just be a swim or a ride.

But now I know that every day I should find a way to say:

“Thank you for another good day”.

This is the plan, let’s see if I can stick to it! 🙂