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Ben Keenan: Gifts with pots of imagination

At 22b Hatter Street, directly opposite one of the world’s most beautiful cinemas is an extraordinary cafe.

Once inside, a remarkable sense of bubbling creativity sweeps you off your feet and you suddenly begin to feel that despite having limited artistic skills, anything is possible.

You are greeted by a delightful lady named Nat, who is the heart and brains behind the Hatter Street Studio and is responsible for one of the happiest afternoons my wife and I have ever experienced together. Our nine-day-old baby was present too, but his enjoyment was diminished for reasons I’ll explain later. What sets Nat’s establishment apart from every other cafe in town is that it gives you the opportunity to create something which has the potential to last a lifetime. On shelves are an eclectic range of ceramic objects which are patiently awaiting somebody to make them their own using special paints and a liberal sprinkling of imagination. My wife had in mind a special bowl for a dedicated porridge eater who, once at the bottom, would be able to see a heartfelt message and new-born baby hand prints each and every time the bowl was emptied. Our first mistake was thinking that a nine day old would calmly allow us to slather each of his hands with baby safe paint. Suffice to say, our bowl features a single reluctant hand print and the simple but powerful message ‘with love’ because attempting a second would have required reinforcements and ear defenders! After a few artistic embellishments, a pot of tea and one of the best extra shot cappuccinos and hazelnut brownies in history, my family paid our excellent value for money bill and were told to return a week later to collect our kiln-glazed group effort. The finished product is a high-quality joy to behold and when unwrapped by our allocated someone special provided us with equal feelings of pleasure as the amazing lady we’d given it to. The Hatter Street Studio deserves to be one of the busiest shops in town as it not only feeds your stomach but also the soul, the heart and the imagination as well. For more, call Nat on 01284 747075.

 

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