Friday, 9 September 2016

Introducing the Cotswold Hare Festival 2017

For the past three years Cirencester Hare Festival has involved artists collaborating with sponsoring businesses to decorate numerous five foot hares which have then been located in various parts of the town for people to find. This year however other towns in the Cotswolds have got on board and in March 2017 The Cotswold Hare Trail will be launched consisting of 50 five foot hares which will be scattered all over the Cotswolds. Having put myself forward as an artist, I had no idea that the Museum in the Park friends had agreed to sponsor one, so it was both a privilege and a delight to accept the challenge of creating a hare especially for my home town of Stroud. What is equally precious to me, is not only have I been writing about Stroud and its people for almost 30 years, my mum Jan grew up in the Stratford Park's Mansion House which is now the Museum in the Park. My grandfather George Ham moved to the house from Epsom in Surrey, with my grandmother Kitty, when he took on the role as park groundsman in 1947. My mum was three and she lived in the park mansion house until she was 13. It was whilst he was looking after the park's bowling green, that George discovered that he was good at bowls. He ended up playing for England. THE CHALLENGE The theme of the 2017 Cotswold Hare Trail is history, and therefore every hare has to reflect the history of the town it will be situated in. Mine of course will reflect Stroud's history. But first let me introduce you to the moon-gazing hare I will illustrate. She is five foot high. Now baring in mind that is my height exactly, I will be gazing at her eye to eye for a few weeks while I decorate her.
In order to work, I chatted to Museum staff as to the best place to put the hare. The "cottage" next to the museum seemed to be the ideal place as it was enclosed and although still exposed to the elements, it is covered so at least me and the hare won't get too wet in heavy rain or snow!

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