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Harriet Cotterill moved to Milford at the age of 15 and despite her protests and tears at having to leave the city for the country she has happily had a presence in the community that runs deep and tells a delightful tale of over 75 years of creating art, and the strength of a family and community.
When the ARTery Gallery and opened its doors in 1999, Harriet Cotterill was one of its first members. She’s also been an active member of The Pike County Arts and Crafts for 61 of its 63 years. In the early years of the PCAC along with fellow members Georgianna Kiger and Gaetano and Ada Rosario-Cecere, Harriet grew as an artist.
Art is a living heirloom for Harriet who learned to work in many mediums with her father, Arthur Von Igatius. He rewarded Harriet for her hard work at the age of twelve by allowing her to rough in parts of the backdrop on his scenic work and filling in the paints in the proper order on his rosewood pallet. There have been many artistic influences in Harriet’s life. Telly Bryce befriended Harriet and instructed her from her third floor studio in Milford. It was there she created pen and ink Tudor style Christmas greeting cards which earned Harriet twenty-five cents each, a proud sum for the then nineteen year old. Also created at the age of nineteen was Harriet’s oil painting of Cummins Brook here in Milford. She went on to study for years with the areas foremost watercolor painter, Matilda Grech. Their friendship and steadfast support of the local art scene have spanned the decades.
Years after becoming a young widowed mother of five, Harriet was commissioned to paint backdrops for The Lyric Opera, a summer stock theater under scenic painter Lou Kennel in Sagamore Estates, Twin Lakes, PA.
Her creations have come about from a wide range of mediums including charcoal, pastels, oils, silk screening, etching, watercolors and block printing. Through all manner of life’s good times and tough times Harriet has found ways to create. At the age of 94 she continues to create. Now, despite the arthritis that’s made its way to her hands, she intends to continue making art. She has in recent years returned to her love of charcoal and pastel.