An insider's guide to the county's best kept secrets
the hare and the hen
11 Dalegate Market
Tel: 01485 211245
Handmade ceramics hand painted in wildlife characters and coastal themes plus a huge selection of gifts by talented local artists – a haven of creativity to explore.
Where to find it
The hare and the hen is one of those shops you’re delighted to come across on a ride out; one that is a joy to explore and an inspiration to encounter. Tucked down an alleyway at the Dalegate Market site, pull in off the main coastal road at Burnham Deepdale in between Hunstanton and Wells-next-the-Sea. From the road you’ll spot a petrol station, supermarket and selection of retail outlets. Park up and walk down the side of the café and this haven of artistic splendor will await you.
What to expect
The owner, a friendly and inspiring Philippa Lee, takes pride in her creative space. When you learn it was at least 16 years in the making you begin to understand why, for Philippa is an extremely talented artist who has longed for a place of her own to exhibit her work and others. Having trained as a potter’s apprentice for seven years, then shared a workspace at the Old Barns Craft Studios in Old Hunstanton, Philippa’s dream finally became a reality.
On the theme of the domestic natural world that surrounds us, Philippa creates outstandingly high quality pots using red earthenware clay with a white slip applied to enable her to paint her designs using under glaze colours that are then fired with a transparent glaze. Decorative and attractive, her pieces are all the creation of an active mind. “You wouldn’t want to look inside my head”, she comments but I disagree since within clearly lies an exceptional artist. The animals she paints come alive with personality, are full of humour, movement and individual style. Every item has practical usage which is important to her. “Oven to tableware, everything is intended to be used and indeed comes alive filled with lasagna or an apple pie”. You’ll find dishes, jugs, teapots, platters, cereal bowls and much more.
Commissions for anniversaries, birthdays and other occasions are popular. Philippa was recently asked to make a platter for the Duke of Edinburgh’s 90th birthday by his shooting pals. Wedding lists are also welcome; imagine a collection of individually designed crockery to keep forever – it makes for a far more interesting gift than a duvet cover that’s for sure. Tiles can also be painted to order, individual ones or collections for kitchens and bathrooms. You’ll find a wide selection of pieces on offer and can even watch the genius at work for the shop doubles up as a workspace with potter’s wheel on full show.
What can you buy there?
Alongside her stunning collection of coast and country inspired ceramic designs, you’ll also find a vast range of quality gifts including textiles, glass, wood and prints as well as a collection of second hand natural history books. Philippa welcomes the work of local talented artists and displays a number of original canvases. In particular I was taken by a textile artist named Jo Hill who creates wonderful natural representations of breeds of birds by using pieces of material and stitching. The detail is astounding and the overall effect breathtaking.
Philippa is careful what is chooses for her shop going to craft trade fairs herself to get unusual items. Her daughter follows in her mother’s creativity by supplying a wide range of handmade cards and gift tags that are beautiful and skillfully designed. Whilst the shop is predominantly ceramics, there are plenty of other products to appeal to all tastes, budgets and styles.
If you’re arty by nature, love browsing arty things, or like to buy original presents, I’m confident you’ll enjoy this little gem of a find. It’s refreshing to see someone put such effort into making a space so alive with creativity and inspiration. Quality retail venues such as this should be seen by all. Take your wallet though because you’re bound to spot something that you can’t live without.
The hare and the hen is open seven days a week, 10am to 5pm in summer, 10am to 4pm in winter. All pieces are individually priced. Beware with little ones as all breakages must be paid for.