Sunday, 27 November 2016

At the feet of my hare

This hare is bigger than me in so many ways. I have so far spent hours working on him yet I feel I still have a long way to go. I discovered today that although I thought my black paint liner was secure, it still rubs if I get it wet, so it will mean I will have to go over every black line with a tiny paint brush and black acrylic to seal it. Today I was back on my knees working on the hare's cuff and adding details to the bowls which is in honour of my dear Grampie, George Ham who discovered a talent for playing bowls after spending years watering the green. He did so well, he earned a place in the England team. The bowls on the hare's left hand paw has an England rose on it in his honour, but also because he was an expert in roses and was often a judge at horticultural shows (including Stroud Show). It is also my mum Jan's favourite flower and she too used to live in the Mansion House.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Adding the mills

The sounds heard in the Stroud valleys would have been very different centuries ago. The plethora of mills around Stroud turned out high quality woollen cloth, and with it came the immense and deafening sound of machinery. One by one the mills closed - apart from Cam Mills and Lodegmore Mills, the two sister mills which still produce the billiard, tennis and uniform cloth today - but they are far from forgotten. Many of the mill buildings no longer exist, yet the ones which do now have a different sound such as that of a restaurant, a manufacturing industry, council headquarters, fitness centre or accommodation. I have paid tribute to the mills on the hare's legs and also added in part of a very famous image of the scarlet cloth left out to dry in the Stroud fields.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

The awkward parts!

Had to get help to tip the hare over in order to reach the unreachable aspects of his anatomy. He looked very sad lying on his side but it had to be done. A repeat performance will have to be carried out to ensure the other side is equally covered too. Not an easy shape by any means, a challenge indeed yet one I am determined to overcome!

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Backwards in time

To highlight the fact that when we look at history we effectively go back in time, I wanted to create a clock that did just that on the back of the hare. It fitted well as within the Museum's collection there is a clock that is back to front, and does indeed go backwards. I also had the idea to make the hare's bob tail a tennis ball, celebrating the cloth in a fun way. Lodgemore Mills still make the tennis balls used at Wimbledon and by painting it yellow, it helped balance out the ears. I also decided to make the thread on the cotton reel, yellow too. I still have a long way to go, but I feel Scarlet Red Hare is growing in personality and character and it has been great to talk to visitors and explain a little bit more about Stroud's history.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Railway Time

I have included Robert Bragg's Railway Time clock as the hare's pocket watch. The reason being was Stroud had its own time, known as Town Time. Here's a bit of history thanks to the Museum in the Park as to why Stroud was for while, nine minutes behind London. "Prior to the advent of trains, local time in Britain was set by sundial, which reads differently based on your location on the Earth. In 1845 The Great Western Railway reached Stroud, which ran nine minutes behind what locals referred to as “London Time”. The notion of adopting a standard time was not necessarily a popular one; a number of cities created public clocks that operated at local time, with an additional minute hand showing London Time. By 1855, 98 percent of towns and cities in Britain had switched to GMT, but Stroud continued to resist. However, as the railway became an increasingly important part of day to day life attitudes gradually began to shift. It was time for a change." ( As the March Hare in Alice in Wonderland had a pocket watch in the original illustrations, I thought it was fitting that the Scarlet Red Hare had one too. My next challenge will be to run a railway track through his ears, and possibly include a bridge over the top!

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Defining lines

As it is half term and since I have little and not so little people with me, it has been hard to carve out some hare time, but managed a quiet hour today. Met some lovely families who were visiting the area and those who live here. Managed to define a few lines today and aim to finish the railway pocket watch tomorrow, which celebrates Town Time. Little and often and the hare will look good. Artists after all need a break from their work to see what needs to be retuned, reworked or left alone when they revisit the subject in hand.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Going for gold

It's becoming clear that the hare will have to be turned over soon as there are some awkward spots to get to. I have quite small hands, but even I can't reach certain parts of Scarlet Red Hare's anatomy! Decided to add some gold today so I can add the details of the buttons and collar later. He is starting to look more regal and proud. Even though I am now inside and I no longer have the issue of cold fingers, working on a surface that is far from flat is still a tricky business and requires a lot of effort to keep my hand steady. Do miss seeing my little robin though. After applying the gold, I decided to paint his feet green. Opted for a more emerald green than a blue one. This will represent the billiard cloth still made at Lodgemore Mills; as well as the bowling green at Stratford Park. A special bowls will be added with the England symbol as a tribute to my grandfather George Ham who lovingly cared for the green and later discovered a talent for bowls, earning himself a place in the England team. So as from today, here's the updated hare:

Friday, 14 October 2016

Adding some Uley Blue and white piping

Hare's the update then on my five foot hopper. Spent a lot of time today patching up red, outlining where the buttons will go, the white braid of the coat, and adding the Uley Blue to represent the cloth made in the Stroud valleys of the same name. Feel at home in the warmth of this pop up studio and enjoy chatting to so many visitors of all ages and occupations. I just hope I can do the Museum proud. Of course there are challenges. There are places I can't quite get to. I am pretty supple but I will need to get some lessons from a contortionist methinks - either that or tip the hare on his head!

Monday, 10 October 2016

Hare-raising again from the cold to the warm

Over the past few days both myself and the hare have been a lot warmer and happier. Having had a few problems with paint not drying, acrylic paint pens rubbing off and smudging, and fingers freezing in the cold, it was decided the best solution was to bring the hare and his artist into the museum itself. We have now got a pop-up studio outside Galleries one and two and are officially part of the artefacts. I suppose art-e-facts is quite an apt name for us, or my children would probably argue I am more of an old relic. So with a warm environment paint can dry. It also means my hands don't shake with cold and I have now managed to paint over every black line with a thin paintbrush and System 3 black acrylic. We are back on track. With the Secret Garden now open and the Big Draw taking place, the museum was buzzing with people. Such a lovely environment to work in, so hopefully the hare and I can take a leap forward with our creativity.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Problems with the receding HARE line

I could probably come up with a hare pun every day. I worked on him yesterday and it was definitely a case of needing a HARE dryer as it was so wet. I got drenched just getting to the hare in his little outside studio. Having sought advice, I decided to use an acrylic paint pen to draw in the back lines to show the clock mechanisms on the white head. I left it to dry and returned this morning only to find when I tried to rub out my faint pencil lines, the eraser removed the black line as well as the pencil, and if there was any hint of moisture, the black lines smudged and looked terrible. Therein lies the problem - what will happen if varnish is to be added, surely this will make everything run? I decided to leave the issue in hand for the present moment and start painting in some red to cheer the rather dull dark rainy day and myself up! And right on cue, my little robin friend joined me which made my day. Back home, I called on a few professional artist friends to try and solve the problem. I couldn't find anything helpful on the manufacturer's website, so decided to try out a bit of varnish on a tiny patch in the morning to see what happens. Failing that, I have come to the conclusion - having bought some very thin paintbrushes - to paint on top of the lines with System 3 black acrylic in the hope this will avoid the worry of smudging later on. Lets hope the hare's receding problem will be resolved!

Monday, 26 September 2016

The Golden Eye

Couldn't resist popping back to see the Hare and problem solving. Turning his head into the mechanics of a clock is no easy business, but I wanted to tackle it. It did mean standing on the bench in order to get a better view of the head. I made a few decisions regarding the eyes and nose. Whenever we look at an eye, there is always a reflection in it, so I wanted the hare's eyes to reflect the history, so I decided on a silhouette of a mill building. Instead of the original blue idea, I have opened for a gold to match his gold buttons and collar. The robin popped back for a visit as did my younger two children, who were content to do a trail in the museum while their mother worked. Another decision I made was to add a gold button to the hare's nose, which will have a red thread running through and then continue as a running stitch to make his mouth. This will of course reflect the scarlet red jacket and the threads relating to the textile industry.