On Friday I travelled to Cirencester to do an event at The New Brewery. The event coincided with The Names of the Hare exhibition, a wonderful show by many artists who use the hare to inspire work.
The show was beautifully collated and hung by Tracey and the New brewery is a wonderful venue. I hadn’t expected to meet the glorious Sophie Ryder hares and hounds outside. Such a delight. A small curled hare woman of Sophie’s sleeps on my desk where I work, amongst my paints, always dreaming.
So, feast your eyes and fill your soul.
It had been a long drive to Cirencester, via a meeting with Graffeg and book signing and chocolate brownie at Tetbury. I was greeted by Karin, sitting outside eating scones, and then the beautiful wall of blue in the gallery. And the gallery and all the work just looked wonderful.
The glorious pots are by Michele Cowmeadow and someone should snap them up because her work is ridiculously cheap and very very beautiful.
Below are paintings from Song of the Golden Hare and Celestine and the Hare’s wonderful felted jackalopes and leverets.
Below is glass from Tamsin Abbott. I do love her work.
Catherine Hyde’s paintings below. Have loved watching her working on her latest book.
Eleanor Bartleman’s secret winged hares. Wonderful.
Below is Hannah Willow’s silver hares. Below, Karen Green’s copper hare. Tracey said she was stopping working on weathervanes. Karen made the bear who flies in the wind over my house. I love my bear. And I love this hare.
Below, Dinny Pococks magical witty felted hares. And Dinny, who was wearing a necklace that I covet. Love the way she thinks.
And Karin, who is a real person, not me, though people muddle us up and I am not sure how because she’s younger and prettier and far more daft than me, for I am serious and lyrical. And taller.And below is Jen Heart’s Papercut art, which photographs so beautifully with it’s shadows and details. Jen makes t-shirts and mugs using her papercut designs too. Just lovely.
There was more, so much more, but I was trying to focus on the event I had to do. Mostly I read from The Wild Swans, which may seem odd, but there are hares in the book. A woman, who is neither bad nor good, with white hair and fur slippers she keeps tucked tight under the bed, hidden. For when she puts her delicate feet into her white slippers she has the power to become a wild white hare.
I would like to thank everyone for coming to the event. Such a lovely audience. So lovely to meet a few of the artists, and to finally meet Annie, who used to work for Greenpeace and now works at The New Brewery. Annie introduced me. And it was only in those few moments as she was speaking that it dawned on me that I owe my career in children’s books to Annie. You see, Annie wanted to work with me when I was with Paperlink, a card company. And we did work together, though the card company were careful to ensure we never met. And Caroline Pitcher saw the cards I did and wrote a story and sent it to Bodley head with a few of my cards and a covering note asking if I could be the illustrator. I’ve not looked back since, and have such exiting things on the near horizon, so good to meet, take stock, enjoy such a wonderful exhib.
On the way home, tired from driving Ivy and I stopped at Drwslwyn Castle. I wish I had had time to sit and read Robin Hobb’s latest book there. It’s fantastic. And the castle, well. What a magical place. Ravens circled and danced in the clear blue. The river meandered below. The walls were thicker than I was tall, and the ghosts so numerous. At one time a small settlement had occupied this beautiful place. Now the grass is thick with grasshopper and cricket song.
At Cirencester and at Toppings in Bath Ivy stole the show. She’s going to get her own book soon. For these are the days of the White Cat and the Grey Dog.