This is quite the ponder. Yesterday I cleared out the studio for three reasons.
1. It was in a mighty pickle.
2 I needed to find the blackboard.
3 We needed a garden gathering space for inclement weather.
None of these inspired a blog but like all good things, the accidental find is the most interesting. This is the story of my life. My working life would not exist without X-rays, one of histories great accidental finds. The link below explains radiography alongside 9 other valuable accidents. But I digress.
My accidental find in the studio was a Disco glitter ball. It’s big and used to live in a cupboard for eleven months of the year and then hang disco style from the decorative finial thingy that hung down from the bottom of a newel post on my landing.
It came into my family life by accident . We walked past Next one Christmas Eve as the shop was closing. Window dressers were stripping the festive window and prepping for the sales. We were gifted this ball straight out of the window.
Since acquiring a studio the glitter ball has given year round pleasure. Twinkling in the sunshine.
I felt like dropping into the Google rabbit hole chasing glitterballs for information for the blog.
A mirror ball hanging over the Louisiana Five in 1919.
The first mention, in literature, of a glitter ball was in Boston in 1897. The first patent was issued to Louis Bernard Woeste. He patented it as the Myriad Reflector , his trade name for it, he did not patent it as the inventor. It was reproduced by his company, and sold to ballrooms, jazz clubs and dance halls. His promotional material claimed.
“The newest novelty is one that will change a hall into a brilliant fairyland of flashing, changing, living colors – a place of a million-colored sparks, darting and dancing, chasing one another into every nook and corner – filling the hall with dancing fireflies of a thousand hues.”
Mirror balls became hugely popular in dancehalls in the 1920’s . I met them in the 70’s starting with the School Disco at Margaret Tabor Secondary Modern School in Braitree, Essex. Then The Viking nightclub in Castle Headingham and then finally the bright lights and dark nights of living and working in London and Brighton. Here in the 21st century the Strictly Come Dancing global franchise brings glitterballs into countless homes worldwide that have no notion of nightclubs.
Glitterball imagery is iconic in the music industry. The Grateful Dead, Yes, Madonna, Pink Floyd have used it extensively.
The Bee Gees soundtrack for Saturday Night Fever crosses the glitterball path between music and film. Film has a similarly iconic love affair with twinkly balls. Velvet Goldmine, Casablanca in 1942, Dirty Dancing all love a twinkly ball.
In the U.S there is one manufacturer who supplies 90% of glitterballs in the US, according to Google.
But it would seem pretty strange if China hasn’t taken a big part of the market. I don’t know where my glitterball was created I know where it is now. The mortuary part of our house has slightly odd proportions for a domestic property. All the ceilings are very high. We bought a light fitting a few years ago that was sold for large-proportion bars or cafes. with just a little modification to this lightfitting the glitterball has a new home.