Cactus Gallery LA
THE WITCH HARE OF CLEVELAND by Ragged Caravan (Alex Wells)
Paper clay and antique textiles, 12" tall
Witch-hare stories have a long history in Europe, and in British Isles folktales they are commonly outwitting or being outwitted by hunters. This character was inspired by the English tale, The Witch-hare of Cleveland, where a witch is discovered after a black dog is set on her by a hunter while she's in her hare form.
She escapes and when the hunter follows the hare to her cottage he finds her in her human form lying in bed with a wound on her leg from the black dog’s attack, thus giving away her witchy powers. In my version of the folktale, she outwits the hunter every time!
Plenty of other stories, while often casting witches as evil, have them escaping and even punishing hunters for their interference. I find great inspiration in these stories of witches outwitting violent hunters in a time when women’s power is feared and punished by men and where “civilization” is not a safe place for women.