Making the rounds

MARSHALL – It all started with a fruit jar full of marbles she got at her uncle LeRoy’s auction.

But since then, Mari Jo Babcock’s marble collection has grown to include ones with logos, ones that light up and ones that have insects inside of them.

Babcock’s marble collection will be on display at the Prairie Home Hospice 2013 Table Setting and Wine Tasting Affair from 4-8 p.m. Friday at the Mercantile in downtown Marshall.

Babcock said her marble collection started small.

“I had a few odd ones,” she said. “I thought, ‘These are kind of nice.'”

Then she’d go to toy shows, look for marbles on eBay and check out flea markets, like the one at the Pioneer Power Threshing Show in Hanley Falls, to keep adding to it. A couple of weeks ago, she got a marble with a little figure of a penguin in it.

This past week, she was waiting on a Starship Enterprise marble.

And although her collection has grown throughout the years, Babcock said it’s easy to store.

“It takes up less room than a lot of hobbies,” Babcock said.

Babcock said she likes the vortex marbles, the intricacy of them. She has several with characters on them, such as Superman, ones from “The Wizard of Oz,” the Lone Ranger and Tonto, “Star Trek” and from the “Peanuts” comic strip.

The newer ones she has are considered contemporary marble art. Babcock noted a couple of people who create marbles, including Sammy Hogue of West Virginia and the Davis family, also of West Virginia.

“A lot are signed on the bottom and dated,” Babcock said.

When she looks to add to her collection, Babcock said she searches for “anything and everything, whatever has a different look to it.”

“They have names like ‘white wedding.’ This is one of my prizes,” Babcock said as she held up one of her marbles.

Babcock regularly turns to eBay for her marble purchases.

“You can buy stuff cheap, you can buy things for a few dollars,” Babcock said.

She’s found marbles from Germany, the U.K. and other places.

Babcock has found different ways to display her marbles, from vases and display cases, to flower frogs and an old, glass rolling pin.

And once in a while, she might find marbles at an antique shop, but those can be expensive, Babcock said.

Babcock’s nephews have started collecting marbles as well.

“I pass on marbles to them,” she said.

Babcock recently made a few of her own marbles with the help of a neighbor, Carol Louwagie and Carol’s granddaughter, Taylor, using polymer clay.

“I hope people come to the Hospice event,” Babcock said, adding that she usually doesn’t bring out her marbles to show. “I just know I’ll be bringing 1,000 marbles.”

She said she will have a drawing for a few of marbles.