Are you hare aware? - Banksy-style '˜hare bomber' creating mud sculptures in artistic campaign to combat illegal hare coursing in Lincolnshire

A Sleaford ceramic artist has turned into a Banksy-style '˜hare bomber' creating mud sculptures of the creatures to raise awareness against illegal hare coursing gangs targeting Lincolnshire on a daily basis.

Thursday, 21st September 2017, 2:19 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 11:39 am
'Iam hare aware' - the mud scuplture that appeared at the Sleaford Standard offices overnight. EMN-170921-130104001

The artist, who currently has asked to remain anonymous due to the criminal gangs behind the illegal bloodsport, is going under the pseudonym, ‘I am hare aware’ and has so far crafted four life-size sculptures of hares from mud, straw and grasses.

Two have been placed overlooking fields off The Drove in Sleaford for the last couple of weeks, another appeared last night on a traffic island next the junction of Grantham Road and the A15, while a fourth appeared addressed on the doorstep of the Sleaford Standard offices this morning (Thursday)!

The Standard made contact with the artist and she explained: “I am a local maker and ceramicist and my work sells around the world, appearing in London, Sotheby’s and even Downing Street, but my passion is to protect the hares from the hare coursers by raising awareness of what they are doing and how they go about it.

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A bedded hare in a field near Sleaford, photographed by 'I am hare aware'. EMN-170921-130030001

“Last year I spent a lot of time checking fields in the area and phoning the police when I saw something. The fields have been destroyed by men going over them in their cars, it is incredible.

“I spoke to a farm manager and he has been tearing his hair out as it has been a free-for-all when coursers are out with their dogs at 2pm in the afternoon bombing around in front of passers by, destroying the crops which will push up the prices of food for the rest of us.”

More mud hares are to follow as she has got several other artists interested in coming on board along with Sleaford’s National Centre for Craft and Design.

The artist says her ‘hare-brained scheme’ is not about making money, it is about declining numbers of hares in local fields. “I have checked and they (local hares) have gone down from 36 to six in two years and most of them have been coursed,” she said. “For numbers to fall that quickly it must be illegal activity and that is sad.”

A hare on the move in Sleaford area fields photographed by 'I am hare aware'. EMN-170921-130041001

The artist said people should expect more mud hares to pop up as the art project develops, explaining that she came up with the idea of using mud as, if left outside in the rain, the sculptures will gradually melt back into the ground.

The hare artist said working with mud is different to clay, as it is more crumbly when trying to manipulate it into shape.

She said: “I am building them in little handfuls of mud pies.

“I have had help from two students from Nottingham and anybody that wants to come and help is encouraged, the more makers the better and children can have a go. I want it to become a community project.”

A bedded hare in a field near Sleaford, photographed by 'I am hare aware'. EMN-170921-130030001

There will be a mud hare making workshop all day outside the NCCD in Sleaford on October 22 for all to join in. “I may add some concrete to the mix to make them more permanent,” she said.

“The Hare Preservation Society are aware of what I am doing and I have two other artists interested in taking the project further from Kent and Scotland, and the NFU magazine is interested too.”

The ‘hare bombing’ is already generating some discussion on social media. Look out for more mud hares in the neighbourhood and beyond soon.

A hare on the move in Sleaford area fields photographed by 'I am hare aware'. EMN-170921-130041001