Saturday 1 September 2018

The Hare that Haunts

Sharing some hare art...

I love hares - there's just something about them.  I'm often drawn to paintings and ceramics that include hares - I've shared below a few of the hares I have in my house!

I really love the work of Janet Treby, and I particularly love her hares.  I have a limited edition print of the 'Hare Study with Crow ' below which my hubby bought for me a number of years ago, I think after taking note of the amount of time I stood gazing at it in a gallery in St Ives!  It was probably the best present I've ever had and I've never tired of looking at it in situ in my kitchen.

I also have an art card of her work below in a little frame.  Greetings cards are great for collecting 'art', and I have a number that I've kept and framed in absence of owning an original or larger print.

I also have these couple of ceramic leaping hares from Elemental Ceramics - Mandy also makes the most beautiful bowls and vases.

I was lucky enough to see some REAL hares when we holidayed in North Wales - sadly they were too far away to photograph, but it was a thrill to see them (although they saw us before we saw them!).

I also have a few art cards, as shown below, of the work of Catherine Hyde - the mysterious white hare.  I am totally in love with these images, they are so magical.  Maybe one day I might own an original...or a large print (I wonder if hubby is reading this...😊)

Sketchbook inspiration...The White Hare

I have been looking back through some sketchbooks (I use that term loosely!) and the little pieces I had done earlier in the year and felt compelled to create another white hare.

Looking back through sketchbooks/idea books

I had researched the white hare and discovered one of the legends attached - I have put the full, woeful tale at the bottom of this blogpost if you would like to read it.  In short, the white hare is thought to be the spirit of a broken-hearted maiden who cannot rest and who haunts her deceiver until his end.  The hare would trip up and hold back the one who had betrayed her, causing him misery and stopping him from living a happy life.

It made me think a little of the things in life that can 'trip us up' and 'hold us back', and perhaps the white hare could also represent all those events and emotions we experience that haunt us day to day and perhaps stop us from moving on and letting go.  These could be anything from loss and grief through to simply the way some people have treated you.

There are definitely things that I know I have to learn to let go of in order to move forward and I need to perhaps follow the advice I often impart to other people!  I can hear myself saying now -

 "Flip things on their head. For every negative, turn it upside down and look for a positive to come out of it no matter how small" 

So, time to release my white hare and turn the negatives into positives; time to be a little braver and make sure the events and emotions of the past make me stronger instead of weaker.

So here is my white hare - a textile collage made up of snippets of vintage table cloths, fibres, chiffon and organza all stitched down onto a piece of beautifully worn quilt.

The original layout of snippets before being stitched down.

A close up to show some of the snippets I used to create the hare

I have more to add - I have one other piece of this quilt so I would like to make this into a bigger art quilt.  This will be a nice project to carry over into Autumn/Winter to do in the evenings.

I'm thinking of joining the vintage quilt pieces with some english paper piecing

In the interest of flipping things on their head, I still love the image of a white hare so will perhaps think of a different legend attached to this magical animal.

'Among the fisherfolk of the west, this ghostly visitor plays a more kindly part.  After sundown it will flit, eerie but harmless, among the up-drawn boats by the water's edge, or through the still byways of the port, a warning to all sailors of an approaching tempest and dangerous seas.'

There, that's better isn't it?  The white hare as a protector rather than a tormentor...I'll go with that!

Collage samples...

I've completed a couple of sample textile collage wall hangings with that continuing thought of holding a Crafternoon later in the year to raise funds for MIND.  I think, keeping them simple like this, that it would be possible to pretty much make one in an afternoon.

Embracing the wonky and naive in these simple fabric collages

A couple of samples - fun and simple to do

What's next...?

Spurred on by getting inspiration from my 'sketchbooks', I also came across the following:

I was quite drawn to the shape of the holed stone at Men-an-Tol, and I'd already created a felted and stitched piece of the whole arrangement of stones.

Felted and stitched - Men an Tol standing stones

 I've been reading a number of books lately which encourage you to take a shape, texture, pattern etc and isolate it and explore it in a more abstract manner.  I find this idea quite appealing and would like to try this with just the shape of the holed stone.  It will be a challenge to be more abstract...

I have a few images to use as inspiration, and I'm going to try and get up there as well to get a proper feel of the stone.

So, I'll see where I go with that...but sketchbooks are great for recording ideas, and I must try and do it more often!

Allotment news...

There's a real change in the air isn't there?  Autumn is definitely gently nudging summer to one side.

Our runner bean plants are starting to look a little tired, and with shorter days and less sunlight, I think they are heading to their natural end - but we are still picking and eating them by the plateful!!

We've had a few apple windfalls, so crumbles have been on the menu (actually, I'm not sure when crumbles aren't on the menu!) - the rest will be picked off soon and put in the freezer, together with the blackberries we've foraged over the last few days.

We are still picking lots of salad, radish and beetroot and tucking into our crop of wonky carrots and red cabbage!

Well, I've probably rambled on for long enough - but if you would like to read the story I found about the white hare you'll find it below.

In the meantime, best wishes and thanks for reading

Tanya xx


For those of you that like a good tale, this is the story of the vengeance of the white hare...

There are many variations of the tale presented below and in this one the story tells how a rich landowner engaged a young man to manage a very large prominent farm he owned.  The young man came from a middle class family who were eager to improve their standing in the local community and they desperately wanted him to succeed so they could be seen to move up the social scale.

A splendid opportunity

The young man was a clever, handsome fellow and was delighted to take on such a splendid opportunity to show the world his worth and build a fine name and career for himself.  He moved into the farmhouse and went about his tasks in an highly efficient and businesslike manner.  The farm prospered and so did his standing with his employer and in the local community.   His family gained greater respect and status in the local social circles and all was well.

The milkmaid

Then one day his employer announced that he was employing a young peasant girl from a local family as the milkmaid to work in the dairy for him.  The girl, although from a poor peasant family, was very pretty with a most pleasing personality, but had received no education at all and was very naive and inexperienced in worldly matters.


The young man and the milkmaid were considerably attracted to each other, as young men and milkmaids often are, and a passionate romance followed.   The couple were not very discreet with their affair and it soon drew the attention of the young man's family who were terrified that it may come to the attention of his employer who was known to be very strict and unforgiving about such things.  But it did come to his attention and he sacked the milkmaid banishing her from the farm and gave the young man a stern warning.  However, the two lovers were still passionately in love and continued to see each other.  

The young man marries

When his family found this out thinking that the young man would put his prospects in jeopardy and also their standing in the community, they found a girl who they deemed a more suitable and a more  appropriate wife for him to lavish his attentions on and married him to her much to the despair and heartbreak of his former lover.

The milkmaid is executed

For the milkmaid things turned from bad to worse.  A short time after her former lover’s marriage she found she was carrying his child.  Although she tried her best to cover it up and often feigned sickness she could not fool the cunning folk of the village or avoid the wagging tongues of the maliciously minded.

Tragically, one morning a new born baby was found dead in a field.  The maliciously minded of the village immediately accused her of being the mother and branded her a murderess. She was arrested and put on trial for her life.  Her former lover was called as witness and confessed to being the father and largely through his evidence she was found guilty and sentenced to death and executed.

The white hare appears

Soon after her execution things began to go wrong for him.  The farm whiçh had once prospered under his management began to be plagued by problems and became unproductive.  Everywhere the young man went he found a white hare following him.  Sometimes it would flit under his feet trying to trip him up while at other times it appeared as a harbinger of doom bringing bad luck to any new endeavor he started on the farm. The prosperity of the farm began to suffer and the young man feared for his job.

Each time the phantom hare appeared bad luck ensued,  He tried to catch and kill it but it easily eluded him.  Even when he thought he had cornered it simply disappeared into thin air as his hands grasped at it only to reappear later to continue haunting him.

The young man is sacked

The business of the farm went from bad to worse and his employer did indeed sack him.  With no job and his reputation in ruins the young man decided to leave the locality and go off on his own where no one knew him.  He hoped that the white hare would not follow and that he could salvage his reputation and start afresh in some new enterprise or job.

He tried his hand at many new projects but each time he was on the brink of success the white hare would appear and bad luck would ruin his success.  Soon the ghostly hare began to follow him everywhere again getting under his feet trying to trip him up.  He moveď from town to town but people saw him tripping and staggering as he walked and thought him a drunkard.  Indeed he fell into the habit of using drink to drown his sorrows but the hare continued to haunt him everywhere he went.   He even took to riding a horse to escape the hare but it easily matched the pace of the horse and would run between its legs causing it to panic and race uncontrollably, sometime rearing and bucking in fright.

The vengeance of the white hare

One morning after a heavy snowfall his horse was found wandering along a lonely road.  Nearby the broken body of the young man was found his blood staining the snow scarlet.  Back down the road the hoof prints of a galloping horse could clearly be seen, but intertwined with them were those of a large hare.   When news of his death got back to his village the cunning folk nodded knowingly for they knew that the white hare must have its vengeance and the maliciously minded were please  because that is their way.