Meeting with an original Harvey Girl


Original La Posada Harvey Girl Marie Lamar and I having a chat and negotiating a trade: a box of broken Mimbreno dishes for a custom piece from my Fred Harvey Line. Thank you, Ann-Mary for facilitating this meeting. I can’t stop doin’ the happy dance!

See below for the custom piece I’ve just finished for Marie Lamar. Click on image to view larger.


All images and designs © Élise Renault.

If you would like to own a piece of your own, please email Élise at or call me at +1 (505) 429-3670.

Latest work

Some of Elise Renault’s latest work.

Have something cool you’d like turned into a piece of jewelry or want something you see here? Contact Elise at 1 (505) 429-3670 or email me at


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Fred Harvey Line now at La Posada Hotel Gift Shop

Elise in front of La Posada

The La Posada Hotel in Winslow, AZ is now carrying my Fred Harvey Line. I dropped off 10 pieces and am STILL doin’ the happy dance! See most of them below. Click on a photo to view larger.

Want to own a piece of your own?

Please visit the La Posada Gift Shop in Winslow, Arizona or Rough Rider Antiques in Las Vegas, New Mexico. Please feel free to contact me at if you are interested in a piece that has not yet been sold or would like to commission me.

Luz, paz, y amor.

La Posada, Winslow, AZ

All images and designs © Élise Renault

Treasures in the Rough


As I walk the railroad tracks searching for old bits of Fred Harvey and Santa Fe pottery, I have started documenting what these pieces look like before I transform them. Here are a few of those photos.

To see my sculptures and learn more, please see the Fred Harvey Line.

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Fred Head

So what is The Fred Harvey Line?

A few years ago, I began walking the railroad tracks near my home looking for IMG_6221rusty old stuff to add to an ongoing sculpture in my back yard. Though scarce, occasionally I would find small bits of pottery with a red and black motif; others had a lovely California poppy.  One day I hit pay dirt: part of a gorgeous red fish with black zigzag trim and a Mimbres bird with no legs. Voilà! Another “Fred Head” was born.

I create small wearable sculptures using these scarce, sweat-earned remnants of an amazing British-American visionary: Fred Harvey.  In 1902, Mr. Harvey hired designer and architect Mary Colter to create among many other things, the Mimbreño china pattern which was used exclusively in the dining car of the Santa Fe Chief. This pattern made its debut in 1937. The train dining cars were staffed with Harvey Girls: proper young women working as waitresses on the trains and in Fred Harvey’s hotels and restaurants across the southwest. I was told that if a dish chipped or broke on the train, out the window it would go resulting in the potshards I find today.

IMG_5857Mimbreño is my favorite pattern but I make Jewelry using any Fred Harvey potshards I can find. I cut, grind, drill, polish and set into sterling silver these wonderful relics.

The Harvey Girls were brave, hardworking young women; some still alive today. They were perhaps also litter bugs… in this case, a very good thing!

If you want to learn more about Fred Harvey, Appetite for America by Stephen Fried and Katrina Parks’ documentary Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound are both great. The New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe just opened a permanent exhibit.  Also, Rough Riders Antiques in Las Vegas, NM has a large collection of all things Fred Harvey that makes all “Fred Heads” very happy.

Other links to check out are:– Newly purchased Fred Harvey Hotel; the Castaneda, Las Vegas, NM– Fred Harvey Hotel; La Posada, Winslow, Arizona

Commission for José

Ring commission based on this piece of wood.








Another satisfied customer!

If you are interested in commissioning a custom-made piece, please contact Elise at 1(505)429-3670 or

Images© 2014 Elise Renault