Making a gazing ball

What Is the Meaning of a Gazing Ball?

garden ornament image by Dave from Fotolia.com

Gazing balls or gazing globes have been used to decorate gardens for centuries. These iridescent glass orbs, often perched atop a pedestal or wrought iron base, were originally believed to ward off evil and bring good luck. Today they are merely decorative objects peeking out among plants and reflecting the garden.

Early Uses

Gazing balls were first used in the 13th century for spiritual and aesthetic reasons. These first globes were handmade by Italian artisans in Venice and often graced palace gardens. European kings believed these mouth-blown glass spheres held magical, mystical powers and brought good luck to the monarch and his family.

Protective Balls

The first gazing balls were beautiful and imbued with meaning. They were believed to ward off evil spirits, ghosts, disease and malicious intruders. In some circles, they were thought to protect the property owner from witches. Supposedly, if a garden globe was placed near the door, the witch would see her reflection and be frightened away before casting an evil spell.

Meditation

The balls, which often had a reflective surface, also provided a spot for quiet meditation in the garden. Some believed that staring into the ball made the gazer become one with the universe. A gazer could get lost in the globe’s central point of light and reflect on the mysteries of life.

Butler Balls

In Victorian England, gazing globes were standard fare in gardens, where they were sometimes believed to attract fairies. They also often appeared on the dining table as butler balls. Butlers used them to peer over the hostess’s shoulder and check on guests’ dinner plates and drinks.

Globes Today

In early 20th century America, garden globes were placed in gardens as a symbol of status, wealth and success. The earlier superstitions and meanings were lost over time, and today the balls are used merely as a garden accent. If placed properly, the gazing globe should reflect the entire garden and the sky above it. Some are solar powered and light up at night.

Did you know that the decorative shine of stainless steel gazing balls can spice up your lawn with both style AND an entirely renewable resource that helps your garden grow?

Science tells us that Electroculture, which involves the use of electricity and magnetism, can be nearly as effective as fertilizer for bringing new life and health to your growing goods.

Read on to learn how these lovely, shining baubles can make your garden thrive like never before.

Is it possible that garden spheres also known as garden gazing globes can do a lot more than improve your outdoor decor and garden aesthetics.

Besides making your garden look good, stainless steel gazing balls also improve the health of your garden vegetation; but more of that in a while.

Among other things, this brand of yard globes will improve your garden’s well being and last for years.

For this reason, these garden globes otherwise known as mirror balls, are nothing like the cheap alternatives exclusively used as garden decorations.

Yes, Gazing Balls Can Better Your Garden’s Health

You are probably wondering, how would weather-resistant gazing balls make your garden healthier?

Well, here’s how: steel gazing balls have this ability for a number of reasons. For one, they are very durable, shiny, and of course, very visually rewarding.

Furthermore, the steel material makes them magnets for static charges. It is this particular attribute that makes these glazing balls and stainless steel globes so unique, and lets them keep your garden healthier.

The charge in the gazing balls makes the air around them to have a higher proportion of nitrogen, up to about 78%. This nitrogen increase is what makes your garden healthier.

You probably noticed this same effect with thunderstorms, whereby vegetation looks greener after thunderstorms occur.

Many people mistakenly assume that rain is the reason for vibrant green look on the plants, but could it be actually the lightning and it’s extremely high voltage that is responsible for the bright new green color ball.

You see, the charge from the lightning results in increased nitrogen levels, which, as mentioned above makes plants healthier. There is even a name for this process: electroculture

When Did Electroculture Begin?

The concept of using electricity to improve a garden’s health actually goes back as far as the seventies.

Unfortunately, its real significance to gardening was not properly understood until much later. Moreover, attempts to implement electroculture at the time proved to be tedious and dangerous.

The whole process failed as an experiment in advanced gardening. In fact, the idea was abandoned altogether, until gazing balls offered gardeners a new, safer, and more effective way to implement electroculture.

There could not be a better time to stop the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

These farming chemicals have led to the endangerment or the extinction of many species, including the Bald Eagle, frogs, and many others; and that’s not even considering the long-term impacts of these chemicals.

Our nuance eco-system is now out of whack, and things will probably get worse over time as people continue to use these chemicals.

But you can do your part by reducing your footprint on the environment through the use of gazing balls.

Yard globes and gazing balls have a way of ensuring that your plants get the nutrients they require.

All without the need to resort to dangerous chemicals that ultimately seep into the soil and water sources, damaging the environment on a massive scale.

So, the less of these chemicals we use for our gardening, the better off our environment will be.

Decorative Lawn Ornaments and Garden Art … Yet Valuable!

A tough economic climate is putting pressure on many people, including gardeners. Growing your own vegetables is now a more attractive and increasingly necessary option.

Unfortunately, employing a gardener to come over every other week to maintain your garden to keep it looking neat is not as affordable an option as it was in the past.

And let’s face it, green thumbs are not that common either, which means your attempts at keeping your garden healthy might not be as successful as you might have expected.

Actually, chances are that you are wishing you had a gardener, but your budget just can’t take it.

But the good news is that gazing balls (amazon) will make your work much easier. They may become your “trick” to finally seeing positive results from your gardening efforts.

In fact, stainless steel gazing balls were made precisely for that purpose. Beautiful, cheaper than fertilizer, and perfectly safe for the environment.

The balls just use the air in the environment to make the plants healthier. All you will need to do is rub them to a shine with a soft cloth every once in a while and you are good to go.

A typical garden only needs two or three of these bad boys.

Once you have them located optimally around your garden or yard, they will immediately get to work by enhancing the nitrogen content around your garden.

Nature will take its course from there and you can expect healthier plants.

So, get yourself a gazing ball today for a healthier garden and environment!

More About Garden Gazing Balls – Their Origin, Care And Use

Gazing balls make a pretty addition to any floral garden setting, however some people confuse their meaning, use, and origins. Some common questions and concerns about gazing balls include:

  • Where did gazing globes come from?
  • Are gazing balls the same as crystal balls?
  • Will adding glass garden balls to your garden conflict with your personal or religious beliefs?
  • How and why should you use these yard globes?
  • Should you use a “gazing globe stand” to display a garden ball?

Let’s explore the history of this popular garden ornament and address these timely topics.

Buried Gazing Balls In the butterfly exhibit at Brookside Gardens – Jennifer Boyer via flickr

About Gazing Balls, Where Did It Come From?

By all accounts, these pretty glass ball ornaments had their origins in the 13th century in Italy. Originally made from blown-glass artisans in Venice, they quickly caught on as garden decorations.

Upon seeing them, various members of European royalty decided that these “garden globes” held some spiritual, magical, and mystical powers.

They placed gazing balls around gardens and as home decor as a good luck charm, a form of blessing, and more. Soon the mosaic gazing globe became a very popular craze throughout Europe.

Because these garden spheres became so widely used in so many settings, these pretty “garden glass ball ornaments” acquired several names. You may hear the gazing ball referred to as:

  • Globe of Happiness
  • Gazing Globe
  • Garden Globe
  • Butler Ball
  • Mirror Ball
  • Fairy Ball
  • Witch Ball
  • Yard Globe
  • Lawn Globe
  • Gazing Sphere
  • Garden Sphere

It is important to understand that these terms refer to the same pretty, decorative bauble.

If you are more comfortable calling your garden ornament a “globe of happiness” than a “witch ball,” you are well within your rights to do so. It’s all one and the same.

Early Uses Of The Globe Of Happiness

Protection

Early on people thought that a strategically placed “witch ball” could protect its owner from witches, ghosts, evil spirits, ne’er-do-wells, and illness.

To fill these big expectations, gazing balls of all sizes, shapes, and colors found themselves placed in gardens, by gate-posts, near home entrances and windows, and so forth.

People believed garden balls could keep out witches and other magical malcontents by entrapping them (or frightening them away) with their own reflection. How they planned to guard against human, bacterial, and viral threats we don’t know.

Attracting Good: Alternately, many people in Victorian times came to believe that “fairy balls” could attract good spirits, such as fairies. Indeed, this is the whimsical reason many people give for placing these pretty baubles prominently in the garden even today.

Prosperity

Members of royalty in the Netherlands and France especially thought that placing garden globes throughout the palace gardens would draw wealth.

Gazing Balls Become A Status Symbol

When the gazing ball trend migrated to the US, the placing of an ostentatious, decorative ball in the front garden became a status symbol.

The reflective, shiny surface and circular shape of a gazing ball are conducive to meditation. In early days of the “gazing globe” some held the belief that focusing intently on the center of the ball would put the gazer in touch with the center of the universe.

Practical Communication

Victorian servants devised another popular use for gazing balls. They found their reflective properties enabled servants to use a well-placed ball much like we use security mirrors today.

By placing the ball on a stand or table near the dining room door, servants could see what was happening in the dining room without having to disturb the diners. This enabled them to glide silently and inconspicuously into the room to remove empty plates, refill glasses, and so on.

When used this way, these decorative items go under the name of “Butler Balls.” In the deep south, a variation of this practice gave rise to the placement of mirror balls on porch railings to enable servants to keep a watchful eye on iced tea glasses.

Spying

The value of mirror balls as a tool for looking around corners also made them invaluable for spying on faithless lovers and others. Parents wishing to unobtrusively chaperone young couples also found these reflective globes quite useful in Victorian times.

Christmas Ornaments

The Bavarian king, Ludwig, found himself especially enamored with “Globes of Happiness” and had multitudes of them made in all shapes, sizes, and colors to add ornamentation to his palace and gardens. His use of them as holiday ornaments was the start of our Christmas tradition.

Attract Birds

Reflective mirrored balls placed near birdbaths and feeders can attract birds as they apparently believe their own reflections are other birds.

What Do Gazing Globes Look Like?

In the old days, gazing globes (best sellers at Amazon) were always made of hand-blown glass and came in a variety of colors and sizes.

Glass with an iridescent quality provided extra luster. You can still find this original type of globe available today.

However, construction now includes metal, metallic-look plastic materials even bowling balls. Available hand-painted globes make for attractive designs.

You can custom order specialized designed globes of art if you desire along with very pricey, handmade mosaic glass balls from specialty and import houses.

On the other hand, you can pick up inexpensive versions at dollar stores and garden centers. You can find an array of garden globes to suit every setting and budget.

As a side note. A hardcover book of Gazing Ball Paintings by Jeff Koons with text by Joachim Pissarro and Donatien Grau was scheduled for publication December 26, 2017.

Is A Gazing Ball The Same As A Crystal Ball?

In a word, “No!” There are several important and obvious physical differences between gazing balls and crystal balls, such as:

A gazing globe is hollow. A crystal ball is solid. The word “crystal” from the Greek means “solid ice.” Crystal balls are typically made of solid glass, large specimens of semi-transparent crystal, lead crystal, or reconstituted crystal.

A fairy ball can be any color. A crystal ball is clear. Gazing balls made of blown glass or other “shell” materials come painted, colored, semi-opaque, or completely opaque. Crystal balls are transparent – or nearly so.

In terms of purpose, today, lawn globes are mainly considered decorative. Crystal balls can also be considered decorative; however, some people still use them for “scrying” or looking into the future.

Gazing balls also have some stated spiritual uses in terms of spirit catching, warding off evil spirits, attracting fairies, and drawing prosperity and good luck.

Both gazing balls and crystal balls find use in meditation, which puts us in touch with the subconscious mind. This effect may go far toward explaining any mystical or magical traits perceived in either object.

Can I Make Use Of A Gazing Globe Conflict With My Spiritual Or Ethical Principles?

Any object can interfere with your ethical or spiritual principles if you allow it to. Gazing balls find themselves among this crowd. Your intent determines the outcome of your use of an object.

If the idea of warding off evil spirits and capturing witches frightens you, a witch ball might not be a good thing for you to have around. Likewise, if the idea of seeing the future in reflective objects frightens you, avoid crystal balls. Realize other reflective objects such as mirrors and water are also used for this purpose as well. Therefore, take care with those objects, as well!

By the way, your train of thought goes down this path, avoid any contact with cracked lawn globes, you might find yourself at risk of encountering the wrath of formerly entrapped witches and evil spirits.

On the other hand, if you think globes of happiness are pretty and find their history interesting, you should be able to collect them happily and experience no ill effects. The same holds true of crystal balls, mirrors, and water.

If your spiritual, ethical, and religious beliefs are strong and you are sensible, you need not fear compromise by inanimate objects. The results you experience are inextricably woven with your own perspective, expectations, and intentions. If you like pretty glass globes, there is no reason why you should not have one (or more). Call it a globe of happiness and enjoy it!

How Do You Take Care Of A Garden Globe?

With so many choices in pretty yard globes made of durable materials, care of your ornament should be quite simple. A garden globe made of resin or metal with black powdercoated finish metal can stay at outdoor spaces year-round with just an occasional spray of the hose and wipe down to keep it clean and shiny.

Glass globes can be kept sparkling using standard glass cleaners. These breakable globes should be brought indoors during the winter months as changes in temperature can cause cracking, and broken glass presents a safety hazard. And of course, you certainly wouldn’t want to risk the potential release of captive witches and evil spirits!

source: thegardenglove Gazing ball in the majesty of winter – via Fred Ortlip flickr

9 Ways To Display A Garden Globe?

Gazing balls and stands look enchanting in almost any setting. This sort of year-round ornamentation is especially nice to bring wintertime interest to your perennial flower garden.

Use your imagination to display your decorative work of art to its best advantage. Here are a few ideas you could try:

  • Set it on a small pedestal in the center of your birdbath.
  • Support it among some pretty rocks in your garden.
  • Set it on a plant or specially made gazing globe stand amongst your potted plants.
  • Purchase a special wrought iron, stainless steel, metal stand, or pedestal. You may even find a gazing ball stand with a beautiful scroll design.
  • Place them among fountains and statues with flowing water.
  • Float it in a pond or other water feature.
  • Display the ball in a pretty, shallow bowl.
  • Nestle it directly among your plants.
  • Hang it in a woven plant hanger.

Really, any setting that allows your gazing ball to be seen and to catch the light will surely be a success.

When placing your yard globe, take its durability into account. If it is fragile, place it in an area where it is not likely to be jostled and broken.

Place your globe in a central location in your garden to reflect the whole garden and the sky above.

This is the perfect use of your globe of happiness as a focal point to bring an image of the world around you into clear, concentrated focus.

About Gazing Balls

Gazing balls have as varied and colorful a history as they are themselves. The first recorded history of these hand-blown glass garden accents dates back to the 13th century where they were made in Venice. In 1612 an Italian priest, Antonio Neri named them “Spheres of Light”. They have been known by many names – Gazing Globes, Rose Balls, Good Luck Balls, Victorian Balls, Witch Balls, and Garden Globes. Also called “Globes of Happiness”, they have been used symbolically as wedding gifts – said to bring the bride happiness in her new home. In the 16th century, Francis Bacon stated that a proper garden would have round, colored balls for the sun to play upon. They gained their current widespread popularity during Victorian times, being used both indoors, as well as in the garden. One interior use was in dining rooms and on sideboards. Placed in such a way, the servant could gaze discreetly into the ball and see who may need a refill without standing and staring throughout the meal.
Most commonly they are known to fend off misfortune, illness and evil, and to bestow happiness to the owner. The original Victorian Gazing Balls were small (4 inches) hanging balls of either gold or blue glass. They were hung in the front room windows to repel witches, the belief being the witch would see her reflection, and being repulsed by it, would leave.
A collection of lore from different sources includes the following:
Place the ball close to the front door of a house so that if a witch comes calling, she will see her reflection in the ball and stay there to stare at herself.

Called “Garden Gazers” in the South, they were placed at the gate to the front yard so that those sitting on the porches could see who was coming, and have time to either go in and close the door, or go to prepare a glass of iced tea for the guest.

Used in Victorian gardens, a young woman would gaze into them, in hopes to catch a glimpse of her future husband.

What Are Garden Globes: Tips For Using And Making A Garden Globe

Garden globes are colorful works of art that add interest to your garden. These stunning decorations have a long history that dates back to the 13th century, and are readily available at department stores and garden centers. You can also create your own garden globes or gazing balls to display among your plants. Keep reading for more garden gazing ball info.

What are Garden Globes?

Garden globes are believed to bring prosperity, health, good fortune, and protection from evil spirits. According to historical information, placing a garden globe at the home’s entrance will prevent a witch from entering. After the King of Bavaria decorated the Herrenchiemsee Palace with garden globes or gazing balls, they quickly become a common sight in European gardens.

Garden globes also have a practical use and, when properly placed, allow the homeowner to see who is visiting before opening the door.

Making a Garden Globe

After learning about the garden gazing ball info and history, you may want to add these stunning decorative pieces to your garden. Making a garden globe requires a bowling ball, sand paper, grout, colored glass, tile glue, wood putty and grout sealer.

Used bowling balls work well for this project and can be found for a cheap price at bowling alleys and yard sales. Use wood putty to fill the finger holes located in the bowling ball and let harden for at least 24 hours.

In order for the tile glue to adhere properly, you must roughen up the bowling ball with sandpaper and wipe the surface clean. Once the surface of the ball is rough, cover a small area with glue and position the colored glass pieces on the glue-covered bowling ball leaving a small gap between each glass piece.

After the glue is dry, fill all the gaps with grout and allow to dry. Cover the grout with grout sealer and let the globe dry once again.

Before placing the globe in your garden, buff the colored glass pieces to make them shine.

How to Use Garden Globes

Garden globes are a unique way to enhance your garden’s appearance. These versatile balls display your entire garden in its reflective surface and works well alone or when grouped together.

Garden globes can be placed on globe stands — available in various materials such as wrought iron — or can sit directly on the ground. Gazing balls will accent colors and reflect plant’s petals and foliage if placed inside flower beds. You can also group garden globes of varying sizes and colors together, or tether the globes to weights to decorate the surface of ponds.

With their seemingly endless uses, garden globes add a whimsical elegance to your landscape or home décor.

Manda Flanigan is a freelance writer who spent almost ten years working at an organic garden center where she learned how to care for a wide array of plants using natural, organic and non toxic methods.

Gazing balls are beautiful, almost surreal pieces of garden decor. Their glimmering stones make for the perfect tea garden decoration, the perfect thing to line a walkway, or even a beautiful centerpiece for your patio furniture. But, as beautiful as they are, gazing balls can also get pretty expensive. Instead of spending tons of money on a store-bought gazing ball, why not make your own! That’s right, not only can you make your very own gazing ball, but you can make it using Dollar Store items! Now you really have no excuse. Watch the video below to see how this simple project is done.

The key to this DIY gazing ball is a smooth foam ball as a base. This you may have to get at Joanne Fabrics or another craft store. The glass marbles, however, will cost you a fortune coming from a craft store. So look for your favorite color of marbles at your local Dollar Store!

Jennifer Priest, the brains behind this clever little DIY, suggests that these balls should NOT be left out in extreme cold. So if it’s winter where you are, or if you just live in a chilly climate, bring it inside.

To get started you’ll need a few things:

• Smoothfoam RT182.5 Half Ball Pastel, 12-Inch, White
• Smoothfoam Balls Crafts Foam for Modeling, 6-Inch, White
• Acrylic Paint
• TBC Home Branded 500 Blue GLASS MOSAIC PEBBLES, FLAT BOTTOM MARBLES, GEM STONES, VASE FILLERS
• Foam Brush
• Full Size High Temperature Glue Gun

STEP 1: You’ll want to paint the balls whatever color of stones you’re using. So if you’re using blue like Jennifer, paint the Styrofoam blue.
STEP 2: If your larger balls are split in half, paint them separately and glue them together once both halves are dry.
STEP 3: Glue your marbles all over the surface of the balls, using your hot glue gun.
STEP 4: Give them an hour or so to set and then use them to jazz up your garden!

There are so many creative ways you can use these faux gazing balls – and you spent only a few bucks to make them! That is truly the most bang for your buck.

What do you think of this beautiful piece of DIY garden decor? Have you made gazing balls yourself? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Great Balls of Glass! Gazing balls in the garden are all the rage. It all started back in Venice, Italy, where hand-blown glass artistry adorns all parts of the home, including the lawn. After that, decorative gazing balls traveled their way around Europe and while they were once considered a Victorian-era decor piece for English gardens, gazing balls can now be found in all gardens of any style. These ones are made for the miniature gardening fans out there! They are a fun and simple project that you can make in no time!

You may have seen these for sale in the store, but they are easy to make once you know how – we actually had to prove we made these by hand for our Etsy store a couple of years ago. You can use this project all year long and make color-coordinated gazing balls to suit any occasion or match your full-size décor. You can find solid-colored marbles in thrift stores, some independent toy stores or antique stores, just ask for Chinese marbles (from the old Chinese Checkers game.)

Materials

  • Marbles
  • Floral wire, 20 gauge
  • Round-nosed pliers
  • Wire snips

Make it!

1. Start the spiral at the end of the wire and do a couple of rotations first.

2. Place the marble in the circle and hold on tightly to the wire and the marble with one hand, while circling around with the other hand.

3. Straighten and move the loops right on the marble with your fingers to make them evenly spaced.

4. Add a smaller spiral before you add the marble, afterwards, or both, for more variety for your gazing ball bouquet.

These gazing balls are a delightful adornment to a miniature garden.

Want to see more miniature garden ideas? Great! We have plenty! Janit Calvo, our very own Miniature Garden Guru, has shared a few of her fabulous ideas on all things miniature in these articles:

  • How to Make a Miniature Twig Reindeer Ornament
  • Have a Merry Little Christmas with these DIY Miniature Tree Decorations
  • How to Make a Miniature Garden Patio

And be sure to check out Janit’s two amazing books, Gardening in Miniature: Create Your Own Tiny Living World, and The Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop: Handmade Accessories for Your Tiny Living World.

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