Tell us a bit about what inspired you to become an artist/illustrator?
I’ve always enjoyed being creative. I studied Fine Art Photography at Glasgow School of Art after leaving college. I didn’t do a lot of drawing during that time, but I enjoyed making pictures. Following art school, I didn’t make much, creatively. I lost my way for a bit, didn’t know what I was doing, so I did some temp work and bumbled through a few years. Rather randomly, I joined a band called The Zoots, and The Zoots became my life. We made music and travelled the world. It was when I was performing overseas with the band, I started to draw dogs on the backs of boarding passes, and soon after, ‘Made By Harriet’ began its journey. My drawings were not great at first and I spent a long time figuring out so much; what materials I enjoyed using, when, how and where I want to create. I really enjoyed being creative in the times I wasn’t working with the band, I never dreamed it could ever become more than a hobby.
What inspires your work?
Dogs, particularly sighthounds, are my biggest inspiration. The sad story of the Galgo is one close to my heart, and I hope that my drawing will encourage others to love and learn about this breed too. I really enjoy trying to capture their different personalities, and how they move their long bodies. Whilst dogs continue to feature heavily, I also enjoy drawing all sorts of animals, places, and occasionally people. I carry a little notebook around and try to write ideas down as they happen.
I love using new materials and seeing what they can do. If I am feeling a bit stuck with one medium, I’ll try another. Last year, I was illustrating mostly on ceramics, at the minute, I am exploring collage. I know I don't like to be tied into one medium, so being able to change it up really helps to keep me inspired.
What’s your first memory of dogs being in your life?
My first memory is of Pepper, our Welsh Springer Spaniel. As kids, we begged mum and dad to let us have two other dogs because we were desperate to call them ‘Salt’, and ‘And’. Needless to say, this did not happen. Pepper was the best, she had a lovely temperament. I remember her coming everywhere with us. I’ve no doubt she put up with a lot living with four young children. She was there as we moved from our home on the Isle of Man to the ‘mainland’ (Lancashire).
Tell us about your Doughnut and how he came into your life?
Oh Doughnut, the absolute light of my life. I get stopped on local walks and people ask me ‘Is this Doughnut?’. He has such an awesome character, it wouldn't surprise me if one day he started talking. As we began to work overseas less and less, we explored the idea of rescuing a dog. I was looking for a greyhound, I’d been drawing them for a few years by this point and my heart had been stolen by their pointy noses. I contacted a rescue center called ‘Evesham Lurcher and Greyhound Rescue’. I was not looking to rescue a puppy, but they told me about a litter of nine big pups who had been abandoned at 3 days old with their lurcher mum. We saw some photos and people commented on the size of his big paws. We went to visit 10 week old Doughnut and, well, that was that.
When we adopted Doughnut, I spent months learning as much as I could about the breed, about being a dog owner, about training, enrichment and just how to be the best dog owner I could be. We learnt so much about each other during those first 18 months. He is a great communicator and generally comes to find me to let me know he is hungry or needs something, or if we are training or playing, he lets me know when he has had enough. He loves to learn tricks around the house - like opening the fridge, getting the post, closing doors and picking up washing. This works so well for us, as it strengthens our bond, and keeps his days colourful and different, but because it’s integrated in our day to day life it never feels like ‘training’. We play hide and seek around the house too and chase each other up and down the stairs. He is an absolute hoot and he has won the hearts of so many.
How does having a dog fit into your general working day?
My partner and I both work from home for most of the week and we perform with our band, The Zoots mostly on weekends. Doughnut has a wonderful dog walker and sitter who looks after him for us when we are away. We’ve also never really had a ‘set routine’ as band life is quite sporadic, we might get in late one night, and leave early the next, so Doughnut has never really had too much of a ‘set routine’ which really suits us. He gets fed when he tells us he is hungry (usually in the evening) and he is very happy to lie in if we’ve got in very late the night before. I think we would really struggle to have it any other way.
Doughnut is quite calm in his temperament, he is happy lying outside, knowing all is well. If something is up, he barks to alert us, which can be challenging. Often, he’s usually letting us know about an intruding pigeon in our garden. He is a sighthound, and also (we believe) part Anatolian Shepherd, so there are elements of both in his character. In Turkey, where the Anatolian Shepherd originates, they are used to protect livestock (which is why his colourings are similar to a sheep). They are bred to think independently and make their own decisions after considering the options. Someone wrote they are more like ‘guardians’ than ‘guard dogs’ which really resonated with me.
When you’re not working where do you like to head out with the dog?
We are so lucky to live in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside. It’s literally on our doorstep. So there are so many paths to explore, including the old ridgeway. I think Doughnut enjoys the fact that we can change routes often.
What adventures do you have for 2021?
Made by Harriet has a couple of very exciting projects in the pipeline, so I’m very excited to announce those later this year. I will be producing more hand illustrated ceramics, as well as collaborating with a small team to do limited runs of some ceramic ware, I’m pretty sure there’ll be a few dogs involved.