Friday, 16 September 2016

It starts with drawing

As the Stroud hare will be based in the Museum in the Park for a few months, the best place to research about the town's history is in the Museum itself. So with sketchbook in hand, I went in search for those all important ideas. With the hare's shape in mind, I came up with a few clues and themes. This first was one of the striking soldier's uniform in the very room which used to be my grandparent's bedroom. It is made using the Stroud Scarlet cloth which is still made at Lodgemore Mills by WSP Textiles Ltd. In the height of the textile industry, Stroud was one of the leading cloth manufacturers. There used to be around 150 mills in the Stroud district - collectively known as the Strong of Pearls. WSP is one of the only mills still in operation as it was then. Cloth for tennis balls and billiard tables is still produced and it is this history I want to illustrate. Years ago red cloth could be seen drying out in fields.
The other fascinating piece of history relating to Stroud is TIME. Before Greenwich Meantime, Stroud's clocks were set nine minutes behind London and was known as TOWN TIME. There is also a clock in the Museum which goes backwards which I feel reflects what we all do when we look at our history or indeed run or walk along the canal where the mill buildings can be seen. We all go back in time when we study our ancestors or the way life was. Another reference to time refers to W.H Davies, known as the tramp poet who wrote the famous poem: "What is this life if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare." I want those who look at the Stroud hare to stop and stare and realise what a wonderful heritage we have in the five valleys.

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