The Hooping Hare Character
Who is the Hoop Dancing Hare?
In one of my recent posts: ‘The Story of Spring: Exploring the Mythology Behind Ostara and the Hare‘, I described my obsession with the enigmatic hare. The post briefly mentions ‘The Hooping Hare’, a reoccurring character in my work, who, I believe, deserves an entire post dedicated just to her.
My Hooping Hare character started life as this biro illustration above and was really more of a doodle. There was no plan for the sketch when I started, and as a result, the image just seemed to happen.
The drawing was completed a couple of years ago. For this reason, I cannot remember for sure, but I think this initial spark of inspiration came from the TV show Misfits. A mysterious man dressed up in a three-piece suit combined with a full rabbit facial mask terrorised the main characters in an episode from the Channel Four show. In comparison, my character is not evil, just mysterious. Although no hula hoop at this stage.
Strangely enough, an image of a rabbit’s head upon a human body sat in my subconscious. Waiting patiently to be released, until I created this drawing. Initially, I did intend the ‘head’ in question to be a rabbit head. Once the initial seed was sewn, I investigated her character further. Firstly by adding the hula hoop and secondly exploring how the rabbit head worked. Is the head removable, to reveal an intriguing woman underneath? On the other hand, could the Hooping Hare by a hybrid creature, part rabbit, part human? I have still yet to decide the answer to this question. However, her concept stayed dormant in my sketchbook until the 30 Day Journal Project.
Fire: 30 Day Journal Project
For the last couple of years, author, blogger and creative entrepreneur, Lisa Sonora, has created and shared the 30 Day Journal Project for fellow creatives to take part in. In 2016 I took part in the Fire themed project. Lisa provides a writing/journalling prompt each day for thirty days. Participants are encouraged to respond intuitively to the words through imagery, notes and anything else that comes to mind.
Of course, my unedited intuitive work led me straight back to the Hooping Hare. And this is where she changed from a rabbit to hare. Around the same time, I was collecting research for Spring inspiration, consequently sparking my interest with the hare.
So to me, it made perfect sense to transform my original idea into a hare. Thus, the Hooping Hare was born.
So here I am in March 2018 working on my Ostara Collection. Incidentally, when creating these initial drawings of the female figure with a hare head, little did I know that a year or two later I would discover the myth of Ostara. She is a goddess of fertility, who has sometimes been described as wearing a hare mask. As a matter of fact, I drew the left image about two years ago, only to rediscover it shortly after creating the illustration on the right, without remembering the existence of the first sketch. It is amazing how artists can come back to the same theme over and over again, each time with fresh eyes and understanding.
Animal Heads on Human Bodies
I did not realise this at the time but concept of the hare head on a human body introduced me to the world of animal heads on human bodies. The imagery of this fascinates me and I have come to realise that as a doll maker this is a popular theme with other doll makers too. Here are my three favourite dollmakers on Instagram working with this theme.
Summer Carnival Hare
This is the most recent incarnation of the elusive and mysterious character. Whilst I am busy working on some Spring themed dolls, I have decided to save the creation on Miss Hooping Hare til the summer, where she will form a big part in my forthcoming summer carnival collection.