Based at the Manchester Craft and Design Centre on Oak Street in the Northern Quarter, Sausage Dog is a unique shop and workshop, where Harriet Godden makes and sells her brilliant and often creepy creations. Giant monsters perch in corners, whilst fat-headed cats and lumpy dogs jumble together with posing pose-able worms in Harriet’s corner of the Craft Centre, where she has now held a studio for six months, after having had a stall in Affleck’s Palace.
Each of Harriet’s characters has a detailed back-story that develops over time, and some have been waiting to be realised for a while, like Pickle Cat, who is based on a design from when she was 13 years old. At Sausage Dog ideas grow and develop organically, and whilst a few characters, like Pickle Cat, are reincarnated again and again in different colours and textures, the majority of Sausage Dog creations are one-off originals.
Harriet is also a painter of bustling carnivalesque scenes and distinctively misshapen people, having initially studied illustration at University, then broadening her interests into three dimensional and costume design. All of the Sausage Dog characters are drawn on paper first, although sometimes it will be a particular fabric that inspires a character, and Harriet relates how her favourite part of the job is still working on a new design.
Making characters and paintings is now Harriet’s full time job, after having worked with us here at Fred’s back in 2008, and she explains how she has had to learn to be patient with the administration that is involved with running your own business, when obviously it would be more fun to always be making and designing. Along with how, if you make your art your job, you can never really leave the office!
We were lucky enough to get a sneak-preview of some of Harriet’s future creations, in the form of clay dolls, that manifest more realistic, but equally entertaining qualities to their cuddlier counterparts, like a snarling, swearing punk. Harriet told us of how with these dolls, she wants to try and bridge the gap between her paintings and toys, creating special boxes and a matching accessories.