Dancing with Thieves – the inspiration behind the work

five flying magpies silver glitter disco ball

I thought I would write about what inspires me and how concepts and ideas come together to create a new piece of work.

Dancing with Thieves has been in my mind for a while – I watch magpies outside my studio window every day, they are very sociable birds and I watch them taking chances and making choices – they are beautiful and never stop chattering.

I am fascinated by the folklore about magpies – there is a popular nursery rhyme about magpies that is derived from an old English folksong:

One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret never to be told.

Five for silver  – magpies are said to steal shiny objects and such a magpie was the villain in an opera written in 1817 by Gioachino Rossini  called La Gazza Ladra –  known in english as The Thieving Magpie. The story tells of a maid who almost goes to the gallows for stealing silver, before it is discovered that the culprit was a magpie, which had been thieving and hiding items in the church tower.

So I thought, what if the magpies stole a disco glitter ball – what fun we could have dancing around it outside in the moonlight……..