Cotswolds Hare Trail 2017
09:54 03 January 2017
The first of 50 giant hares that will put Stroud on the map next year highlights a family history
The achievements of a Stroud man who represented England at sport are being marked in a major new work of art due to go on display in the town next year.
The Scarlet Red Hare is the first of the 5ft-high hare sculptures to put Stroud on the map of the Cotswolds Hare Trail 2017 that takes place across the region from March to October next year.
The aim of the trail is to encourage visitors and Cotswold residents alike to explore the whole of the region by searching for the 50 beautifully decorated giant hares on display throughout the spring and summer in Cotswold towns and villages.
Each of the hares have been sponsored by a business, organisation or group of individuals keen to bring visitors to their community and will be decorated by talented local artists. Each hare will reflect the history of the place it occupies.
The first Stroud organisation to sign up to the trail is the Museum in the Park, which has chosen writer and illustrator Tracy Spiers to decorate their hare.
Mother-of-five Tracy, 47, who started her working career as a cub reporter on the Stroud News & Journal in 1987, has chosen to celebrate Stroud’s history in her design, with a couple of personal twists.
In the 1950s Tracy’s grandfather, George Ham, was superintendent of Stratford Park and lived for 10 years with his wife Kitty and their young daughter Jan Baker (Tracy’s mum) in the building that has since become the Museum in the Park.
While working as superintendent of the park, which even today has a superb crown bowls green, George discovered an aptitude for bowls, took up the sport and went on to represent England.
Tracy has marked this achievement by designing a bowls ball and the rose of England on one of the paws of the Scarlet Red Hare.
Also depicted in Tracy’s design are Stroud Scarlet, Uley Blue and Billiard Cloth Green, all cloths still made at Lodgemoor Mills in the town as is the yellow tennis ball cloth, which she has made into the hare’s bob tail.
Clocks and time being of such significance to the Stroud Valleys, Tracy’s design also incorporates a number of Stroud time pieces, including the backwards clock on display in the museum, as well as the railway, canal and mills.
“I was thrilled to be chosen to design and paint the hare,” Tracy said this week. “I have been writing about Stroud for almost 30 years and it is such a privilege now to be able to paint a bit of its history, including a little bit of my own family history.”
“The hare has evolved and taken on a character of its own. Each time I visit him I think of another detail I can add in. I wanted to incorporate the backwards clock because when we look at history, we do indeed turn back time. It’s lovely to be able to chat to the public too as they come in to visit the museum and the exhibitions in the gallery.”
For anyone who would like a preview of the Scarlet Red Hare, Tracy can be seen working on it every Friday and over the weekend in the foyer of the Museum of the Park.
Tracy is also writing a blog on the progress of her work which can be found at scarletredharetracyspiers.blogspot.co.uk
The Subscription Rooms in Stroud are also sponsoring a giant hare for the trail, about which more later when an artist has been chosen to decorate it.
Organisers of the hare trail are keen to find one or more sponsors for a Stroud hare to join the Cotswolds Hare Trail in 2017. Any interested group can contact trail director Florence Beetlestone at email@example.com