February 2008. Dana at Whitefish Point, pen and ink drawing by Stacy Vaughn Davis.
Header image: Dana at Whitefish Point, pen and ink drawing by Stacy Vaughn Davis

Featured Artist: Shirley Harrer

If you were in Alberta House during December, you couldn’t have missed the moose, dressed in overalls and relaxing on the floor next to the kitchen door. Under the Christmas tree was an assortment of other whimsical critters in a more compact size—more moose, bunnies, and bears—with jointed limbs, each a personality with attitude. On the other side of the room Christmas stockings decorated with springs of holly, bells, even bears, begged to be hung on a mantle. All were crafted of recycled materials, the products of the fertile imagination and nimble fingers of Shirley Harrer.

Shirley, who lives in the Sault and works as a Victims Advocate at the Diane Peppler Center, began making very small bears about fourteen years ago, but began knitting when she was eight and steadily added new skills to her repertoire. After making about sixty small bears, she tried bigger ones. She now has a menagerie of critters from small to almost life size. While some of her stuffed animals are made of fake fur, others are made of real fur, recycled from old coats. You’ve seen them in various shows, including the Sault Summer Arts Festival, where she won the fiber award last summer, and Arts Dockside, for which she designed the poster in 2002. In 2006, she took Second Place in the Cheboygan Arts Show.

In addition to her critters Shirley makes felted wool mittens (from old sweaters); garlands; lapel and hat pins; tote bags (from woven and rag rugs); baskets and bowls (we had one in our last art auction—see below) from cloth and clothesline; Christmas stockings (from recycled wool blankets) and large purses and totes. All are skillfully crafted with beautifully blended colors. Qualities all Shirley’s products have in common are a sense of whimsy, bubbling creativity and fine craftsmanship.

Shirley and her husband William (Chip—who makes mellow, recycled silverware wind chimes and yard ornaments) have two children and two Pomeranians. Shirley says she loves summer, sunshine and gardening. See her work in the Alberta House Shop and at Northwoods Gifts.

Works by Shirley Harrer
Click on a thumbnail to see a larger version.

Bears by Shirley Harrer.Critter by Shirley Harrer.Moose by Shirley Harrer.

Critters come in all sizes and are made of real fur and fake fur
(most of the materials are recycled).
Prices range from $15 to $150.

Basket by Shirley Harrer.

Baskets and bowls are made from cloth and clothesline.
Prices range from $15 to $50.

Last updated:February 1, 2008

Sault Area Arts Council Home Page 217 Ferris Street, Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783
e-mail: saac@saultarts.org Phone: (906) 635-1312