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Worcester Wares

Jessica Walsh

Worcester, MA
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What type of Artist/Maker are you?

Photographer and Silk-screener

How did you get started making/designing/etc?

I have been fascinated with photography since a very young age and can remember running around with my polaroid camera when I was 8 or 9 years old. Still my favorite camera. I continued photographing through the years and started selling and showing my work in 2009. I designed a greeting card line called "Faux-laroids" and sold them online and in Worcester's very own CC Lowell. Silkscreening began in 2014 when I asked a friend to teach me so I could make a Worcester tote bag for myself, which quickly became making tote bags for others and eventually t-shirts and a store. I've been silkscreening ever since.

How long have you been selling your art/designing/etc?

Since 2009

Is making art a full time gig for you or a side hustle?

Full time gig :)

Why are you a maker? What drives you to continue making?

I love working with my hands and find great satisfaction in the process of seeing an idea becoming an item that people then connect with in a meaningful way. My father was a carpenter and furniture builder and I remember being fascinated at a very young age watching him work. He crafted items that became a part of peoples lives. That is so meaningful and weighty and I've always wanted to emulate that in some way. Working with my hands is in my genes and I’m happiest when I’m covered in ink silkscreening and creating items for the store.

What is your favorite thing that you've created and sold at Worcester Wares?

Its a toss up between the "I Love Worcester" pins that started it all and the Worcester 1722 design that became the first shirt I ever sold and continue to sell today. I love them both so, so much.

Do you make/sell other products that aren't sold at Worcester Wares? If so, tell us about what you make.

I still photograph for fun and occasionally put a piece in a show but mostly I've transitioned to all Worcester Wares all the time.

Worcester Favorites

Favorite Worcester food:

Meatball Sandwich at Vincent's

Favorite Worcester coffee:

Maple Latte from Birch Tree Bread

Favorite Worcester event:

stART on the Street! 

What is your maker process like?

Once a design has been completed - I need to make a screen! The design is printed on a clear plastic sheet and that becomes the positive for creating or "burning" your screen. Each screen is coated with a light sensitive emulsion and put into a dark box to dry. Once you have created your positive you position it on the screen in the appropriate place for what you will be silkscreening - shirts, totes, ornaments, prints, etc. Once positioned you then expose the screen to light. The parts of the screen which the light can touch will harden and the parts underneath the design will not because the light cannot get to the emulsion underneath it. Once that step is finished you remove your positive and rinse off the remaining unhardened emulsion and a stencil of your design will remain. Position the screen on your equipment, add ink, a squeegee and get to work!

Any upcoming products, projects, events, or goals for 2019?

Coming up with new designs and ideas for the store and working with as many artists as possible for those designs and ideas is always a goal of course. Personally - I really want Worcester socks in the store and to see that Worcester t-shirt subscription box idea become a reality.

If you could give advice to someone thinking about pursuing your type of craft what would you tell them?

It sounds cliche but with any craft I think it's important to remember that mistakes are part of the process. An important part and you need to give yourself that mental space to make them and know that it's ok. Keep going. Specifically to silkscreening - No matter how careful, surprise ink will pop up mysteriously on your hands and then on your items; be vigilant. Always tape your crop marks right after screening the test print and never turn your back on bulky hoodies going through the drying oven. Have fun.

Tell us a weird/random/fun fact about yourself!

I’m terrified of sea weed. Really, really terrified. and.... nothing makes me happier than tacos.

What is your connection to the city of Worcester? (Live here? Work here? Grew up here? etc)

Transplant to Worcester. It will be 12 years this July.

One thing you LOVE about the city of Worcester.

One thing? This changes by the day but today it's how people are coming together to support each other and work together on crazy great ideas that bring new things to the city. The creative risks I see people taking are inspiring.

One change you'd like to see in Worcester.

More creative retail shops. We have some - and they are AMAZING shops - but we need more!

Favorite Worcester Event?

stART on the Street! The event brings the city and artists together for a day filled with food, fun, music and art. A long length of the street is closed and packed with people. Aside from it being a great day, stART on the Street is where I fell in love with Worcester. I remember knowing that it was a sign that things were going on in Worcester and people were working to make it a place where awesome things were happening. My first stART on the Street is where I decided I wanted to stay in Worcester permanently and where I bought my “I Love Worcester” pin that ended up being the inspiration for my store Worcester Wares. That event changed my life in the most wonderful ways.

Other Worcester Favorites?

POW! WOW! Worcester of course! Over the span of 3 events it has added almost 100 pieces of public art to the city!

Shop Jessica's Designs

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