Everywhere I went in the small village of Safety Harbor, Florida, people told me the same thing: “You have to see the bowling ball house.” It was easy to find, but even without directions it would have been hard to miss the pyramid of 200 bowling balls stacked on the front lawn. Fascinated, I walked around the corner lot. Crazy quilt pathways of multi-colored ceramic tiles wound through grounds where bowling balls lined garden beds, balanced on pillars, and peeked out from beneath jungle vegetation. Even the mailbox sat on a stack of bowling balls.
A creation of husband and wife artists Todd Ramquist and Kiaralinda, “Whimzey” began when Kiaralinda saw a single bowling ball decorating the cactus garden in front of a house. “I thought it was a neat idea, but I wanted more.” Not long afterward, she spotted a rack of bowling balls at a flea market. “The sign said: ’10 free bowling balls per person.’ In those days we were driving some little car that could barely fit two people, but we crammed it with 40 free bowling balls.”
When Todd and Kiaralinda set up an outdoor table and began painting the balls, neighbors wandered over to see what was going on. “Kids started asking if they cold paint a bowling ball, so we gave them all brushes and let them go,” said Todd. Before long, people began dropping off old bowling balls to be used in the design. Wondering what to do with the surplus, they invited artist friends to paint a bowling ball. To their surprise, many accepted the offer; these creations, affectionately dubbed the Continue reading