June 2007.  Tanglewood Marsh No. 18, pastel by David Bigelow.

Featured Artist: Harriett Savoie

Harriet Savoie.  Click for a larger version.

Harriett Savoie

Harriett Savoie first came to our attention as an extraordinary doll maker. Her dolls are unique personalities—three-dimensional portraits, actually—and unforgettable. They are so lifelike that when just the head is shown, it is gruesome, and the resemblance they bear to the person they were modeled after is uncanny. Many of the subjects are Harriett’s grandchildren.

Last year, she made an oil painting of her son’s dog, and that led to other pet portraits. She is now painting pet portraits in watercolor and, like her dolls, they are true to their subjects.

Harriet was born in Warren, Michigan. She and her six children moved to Dafter after her husband died. They came to this area like so many of us—simply because this was where they wanted to live. Harriet now lives in Dafter and retains the cabin on Brevort Lake that she had before she moved here. Except for one son, who remains in the area, her children have grown and scattered, now living in Florida, Illinois, and Wisconsin. She lost a daughter to cancer.

Harriett studied doll making with in Chicago and New York, working with Tom Boland, with whom she attended a toy fair at the World Trade Center. Yolanda Bello taught her to make a mold of the clay heads she sculpted. (She was left to figure out by herself how to make the rest of the doll.) Her first doll was a portrait of her grandson. All of her porcelain dolls are portraits of real people and bear their names. Her smaller dolls are pure creations. She makes dolls in several sizes, and will have a variety on hand to show and sell when she demonstrates in Alberta House June 9, 20, and 23.

Most of Harriet’s pet portraits have been of dogs, beginning with her son’s dog, but she is now working on her first cat (also her son’s), and this is what she’ll probably be demonstrating in Alberta House. Her watercolor paintings are signed Jadwiga, which is Harriett in Polish. One of her children is engaged in the visual arts—her son, Alex Wieczorek, who has carvings in Alberta House.

If you’re stumped on a present for your dad and he loves his dog, a portrait would be an unforgettable gift. Bring a photo to Alberta House and talk to Harriett. Her pet portraits start at $100.

Works by Harriett Savoie
Click on a thumbnail to see a larger version.

Ashley, doll by Harriet Savoie. Click for a larger version.

Ashley (doll)

Chelsea, doll by Harriet Savoie. Click for a larger version.

Chelsea (doll)

Earthal, doll by Harriet Savoie. Click for a larger version.

Eartha (doll)

Dog, oil painting by Harriet Savoie. Click for a larger version.

Oil painting

Michael, doll by Harriet Savoie. Click for a larger version.

Michael (doll)

Dog, watercolor by Harriet Savoie. Click for a larger version.

Watercolor

Last updated: June 1, 2007


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