‘A Leaping Hare’ – a curation / assemblage from mud-larking finds
I am passionate about the countryside and the animals and birds with whom we share our rural habitat. We see numerous rabbits but in all the time I have lived in this area of North Kent I have never seen a hare. So whenever we take a trip to East Anglia I look forward to seeing these captivating creatures. Our trip last month was a little early to watch the Springtime courtship rituals – their boxing, leaping and somersaulting antics in the fields. But but we did catch a glimpse of one or two with their lean athletic bodies and long black-tipped ears (and sadly a few corpses squashed by rural traffic ).
When I go down to the banks of the nearby estuary on a mud-larking trip, I never know what I will find. Usually all sorts of fragments – china cup handles, broken pot lids, shafts of clay pipes, fishing net weights, glass worn smooth by the tide – all marked or burnished by their journey through fire and water.
Occasionally I find little bits of brick or broken tiles with interesting textures or shapes. And so it was the day I noticed the hind quarters of this hare. And having picked up this strangely shaped fragment and deciding it looked like the rear end of an animal, I then found a piece of the same material, in the shape of a leg or paw, just a few metres away.
Back in the studio I washed off the mud and river-stench and added them to my pile of ‘oddities’. Then, last week, after returning from a few days away, I picked them up and put them together, along with a little round rusty metal plug and a couple of strangely shaped pieces of ceramic which I decided would make quite nice ears. Add a semi-circular sherd for the tail and there before me, as if by magic, appeared a Leaping Hare.
Let’s hope he is indeed the symbol of fertility and shape-shifting herald of Spring referred to in numerous tales, myths and legends, because, after this long cold snap and grey skies, it will be an extra special pleasure to see a metamorphosis – movement, colour and life reappearing in our gardens, fields and hedgerows.
P.S. Interestingly there is a very lovely estate with a restaurant, gift shop, vineyard and farmer’s market called ‘The Leaping Hare’ in Suffolk. If you are ever in the vicinity it is a lovely spot for coffee, lunch, a browse or a wander around the gardens. You may even spot a leaping hare or two!