Saturday, 7 November 2015

A Flick of Hares

There are several collective nouns for hares, but I like 'flick' the most for the way it evokes the fleeting glimpse which is often all we get.

This post is about how one small 10 cm x 10 cm hare ended up saving lives almost by accident.

It started last autumn when I decided to make a small collagraph print of a perky little hare peeping at the world. Once I'd cut the plate it had to be varnished with several coats of shellac, so while I waited for that to dry I was at a loose end.

There was a small piece of scrap lino on my workbench, just a bit bigger than the collagraph plate. I cut this down to the same 10 cm x 10 cm size and sketched on the outline of another hare - similar to the collagraph but not the same, more a memory of the drawing I had done earlier. I then carved it out with my lino tools almost freehand, pretty much making it up as I went along.

I inked it up and printed a first proof - and I laughed out loud. Instead of the 'Curious Hare' I had planned (and I think achieved) for the collagraph, this chap looked slightly crazy. He was definitely a March Hare.

Collagraph 'Curious Hare' (left) and linocut 'March Hare' (right)

I produced prints from both the collagraph plate and the lino block, and in fact printed the lino version in several different colours. Both were a hit when they debuted at a Christmas fair in December 2014.

A couple of months later I was mulling on what I could do for Comic Relief's 2015 Red Nose Day. I thought of the Parable of the Talents; I could either just give £100 to Comic Relief, or I could spend that amount on materials, packaging, postage and PayPal fees and quadruple it before passing it to Comic Relief. The theme in 2015 was 'Make your face funny for money', so I looked at my hare.... and wondered what he'd look like with a red nose. The answer was he would look like this.....

'Mad March Hare'

Behold, my March Hare was now even more bonkers, and had become a Mad March Hare. I contacted Comic Relief to get the necessary approval and paperwork. (If your fundraising is connected to your business it has to be authorised, for obvious reasons). Fortunately they loved the idea and gave me full permission. I announced on social media that there would be an edition of 40 and that they would be £10 each. I printed only a few in advance as I really wasn't sure they would sell....

The entire edition sold out in under six days *screams* and thanks to the enthusiasm and generosity of the wonderful people who bought one (or two, or three) I was able to send a fantastic £400 to Comic Relief.

Packaging up and mailing the prints

And all because I had had nothing to do while I waited for some varnish to dry.

My Mad March Hares have of course all gone - never to be repeated (such is the nature of limited editions!). The original collagraph 'Curious Hare' and linocut 'March Hare', in various colours, can still be purchased on my website, as well as greetings cards with the Mad March Hare image.

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