This piece is meant to be viewed clockwise and one will notice quickly these clever birds stockpiling the lovely, shiny marbles.

Magpies are quirky creatures, walking with a swaggering strut, their tails and wings flashing iridescence, adding to their eccentric flare.    Too many to count, magpies flock to the front of our yard.  Studying their behavior, it’s hard not to notice they walk to the beat of their own drum and seem quite sure of themselves. They are intelligent birds and learn quickly, sensing danger while never staying at the seed pile too long. They especially love to collect shiny things, taking them to their homes to admire their sparkle, while becoming part of the nest.   

When this design took seed in my mind, I first saw Ball canning jars, but new quickly they would be too thick- I didn’t want them covering the many beautiful colors of the sun’s rays.  Two days later, I found myself in an antique shop with my husband searching for a better fit…and there they appeared…on the glass showcase, an 8 oz. glass cream bottle with marbles to the top- I was filled with excitement as my design was now complete.  I couldn’t wait to begin painting and cutting the Collector of All Things Shiny.   

About the Black-billed Magpies- they are familiar and entertaining birds of western North America. They sit on fence posts and road signs or flap across rangelands, their white wing patches flashing and their very long tails trailing behind them. This large, flashy relative of jays and crows is a social creature, gathering in numbers to feed at carrion. They’re also vocal birds and keep up a regular stream of raucous or querulous calls (Cornell Lab of Ornithology).