When architect Emily Wolfson hand-painted an American Flag on a baseball she birthed a new and exciting adventure for herself. “I’m gonna sell a million of these!” She told her husband, who replied that he had “a better chance of becoming an NBA basketball player.” Not one to shy away from a challenge, 20 years later Emily has sold a whopping 925,000 of her uniquely fantastic Unforgettaballs.
It used to be that baseballs were simply plain, white leather balls with red stitches and at first, Emily viewed the baseball as merely a canvas to explore “art in an unusual place”. Her approach in the creative process is appropriately kinetic in nature; the feel of the ball in her hand, the placement of the stitches… The final design must fit together like the peanut-shaped pieces of leather that are her canvas. Emily’s aim is ultimately to capture an entire experience in one, tiny, 3 dimensional space, which requires careful research and consideration for each design. Last year, when the KC Royals won the World Series, Emily thought long and hard about “how to relate to that series in that year… To get the whole memory in one spot.”
This approach to the creative process is especially evident in her Stadium Series baseballs. Researching the history and design of some of our Nation’s greatest parks naturally harkens back to Emily’s roots in architecture. More importantly, the sentimental, personal associations that people have with baseball parks is a phenomenon that resonates well with the artist, who fondly remembers the connection she had with her father when attending football games together.
The manufacturing process of creating each Unforgettaball has changed over the years. Instead of hand painting each ball, the balls are printed with her artwork (making them accessible to anyone at an average of $30 each) from flat renderings she provides to her manufacturer. Wearing the many hats of a business owner is a daunting proposition to many artists and Emily admits that it’s “easy to get caught up in the expression rather than the end user.” Nowadays, Emily relishes the accomplishment of “marrying” these two aspects of her work. With the advent of social media, she has also gained a gratifying connection to her fans and clearly enjoys nurturing her own “little head” of support.
Let’s help Emily reach her goal of selling one million of these delightful treasures, perhaps the NBA will take note and give hubby a tryout 😉