We are really excited to introduce Claire who owns the fabulous Hare and Moon Gallery in Norfolk, which has just started stocking IzziRainey products.
Hi Claire, thank you so much for joining us. Please tell us a bit about The Hare and Moon Gallery...
The Hare and Moon Gallery is at the end of the Lower Courtyard at Alby Crafts & Gardens. I sell my own work and the work of over 30 other East Anglian artists, craftsmen and designer makers.
Where did the idea come from to start the gallery?
I was asked by my friend Nicci who runs the Purple Parrot if I would like to display my paper cutting work in one of the empty units when Alby Crafts & Gardens was having an Open Day in spring 2014. I said ‘Yes’, set my work up and never went home!
Had you always dreamt of opening your own shop?
I grew up in a village shop and post office in Suffolk and I loved the interaction with customers. I have a degree in ceramics and always wanted to have my own pottery and gallery, but that wasn’t economically viable when I was in my 20s. Now, after a 20 year career in commercial print, I’m in a position where I can follow my dreams again.
Your gallery is part of Alby Crafts & Gardens. Please can you tell us about the site and what else customers can find there.
The tea room and bistro is at the heart of Alby Crafts & Gardens where the businesses are split between the Upper Courtyard and Lower Courtyard. Alby Tea Room offers freshly cooked locally sourced lunches, incredible gluten free cakes by Meg Foster and special events such as pizza and steak evenings. The quirky decor is worth a look too! The Purple Parrot gift shop is always well stocked with affordable attractive gifts and a good range of greetings cards. In the gallery upstairs Hannah Ghoorahoo makes bespoke soft furnishings and Jane Kenning makes wedding dresses, vintage style dresses and professional tutus. At the end of the Upper Courtyard we have SunEssences who produce Bach flower remedies in their science kitchen.
In the Lower Courtyard we have the galleries and studios, so here you will find Tracy Myers our printmaker, Keverne Dewick our wood turner and cabinet maker, Helen Dixon a ceramist and beekeeper, Mitchell House a professional fine art sculptor and myself, Claire Knight, paper cut artist and potter.
There are also over 4 acres of plant lover’s gardens boasting specimen trees, 3 ponds and lots of rare species shrubs and perennials.
It sounds amazing! Can you tell us a bit about your own work?
I have always been drawn to folk art of any type. As a potter I was influenced by English medieval slipware and German salt glaze. When I decided to stop chasing commercial print work and concentrate on building a body of artwork that I could call my own, I turned to paper cutting as it was something I could do at home on the kitchen table without much financial outlay and it was an art form that was beginning to be appreciated again. So I have been developing paper cutting designs and skills now for over 6 years and I think my work is recognisable as ‘a Claire Knight’ rather than the work of anyone else. For over a year now I have also been making ceramics again and I am in the process of building my own wood-fired kiln at the end of my garden. I am very excited to be firmly on the way to producing my own range of ceramics.
As you know all of our products are designed by Izzi and manufactured in the UK, is this something you feel passionate about? Do you stock a lot of other British designer makers? If it possible to, do you like to stock local artists in your shop?
At The Hare & Moon Gallery I stock almost exclusively East Anglian designer makers. I have one supplier from Cornwall whose lovely work in copper, glass and silver fits my gallery perfectly and I buy in a few bits of vintage glass or jewellery if I see something that I think my customers would like. So yes, I am passionate about supporting local artists and craftspeople and about giving them somewhere affordable to sell their work.
It is lovely that you stock such local artists and makers- Norfolk is full of very talented people! You have lots of wonderful products in store, where do you tend to source your products from?
Because I am a designer maker myself I promote my own work at maybe 6 or 8 local events a year outside Alby Crafts & Gardens. This means I get to spot the best new designer makers in the area and I invite them to sell in The Hare & Moon Gallery. And sometimes my existing makers will recommend my gallery to someone new and they will approach me.
What first drew your attention to IzziRainey products?
The Black Dandelion print really caught my eye when I saw the IzziRainey range displayed together and I think the pompoms add a great touch to some of the products. The range is fresh and light and fun.
Thank you so much Claire for joining us. Everyone should definitely pop into Claire's lovely gallery and the rest of Alby Crafts in you are ever in the area.
We are a textile company, based on a farm in Norfolk, designing and manufacturing high quality homeware and interior products within Norfolk and the UK.