Jessie Lamworth '18 is "Making It"
The artist, known for her food-pun art on Instagram, is one of the contestants on the upcoming third season of Making It, the crafting competition show hosted by Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman.
Most of us remember being admonished as kids: “Don’t play with your food!” But artist Jessie Lamworth ’18 apparently never got the message.
Since she was in high school, Lamworth has been creating punning artistic assemblages out of food, photographing them, and posting them to her lively Instagram account. There are portraits of the famous (“Elvis Parsley,” “Alexander Hamilton,” “Baby Ruth Bader Ginsburg”). There’s a streetscape of a certain European city, made from Brussels sprouts leaves; and a seasonal greeting (“Happy Hollandaise”) picturing a dish of Eggs Benedict.
During the presidential primary, Lamworth even did a series of food pun portraits of 10 of the Democratic candidates. And for Baltimore magazine, which profiled her last year and posted a video of her artistic process, she created “Edgar Allen Joe” out of coffee beans.
Silly? You bet. But making people smile is the point of those Instagram creations—that and providing an outlet for Lamworth’s restless creativity.
And now she's taking that creativity to Making It, NBC's crafting reality competition show hosted by Parks and Recreation's Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman. Starting June 24, Lamworth and seven other "makers" will battle it out every Thursday at 8 p.m. EST in a friendly competition of craftsmanship.
“Being a contestant on Making It is one of the most exciting experiences of my career," she said. "The show is so wonderful for its creativity and genuine fun, and the other makers I get to work with are so talented and kind. I can’t wait for everyone to watch the show— it’s such a feel-good, inspiring thing to watch, and Nick and Amy are hilarious as well!”
Originally planning to become an engineer, Lamworth took a sculpture class in her junior year at Haverford, and that was that. “I could make anything I wanted,” she says. “I fell in love with it.” In her last two years at the College, the growth and structure of cities major’s artistic bent took hold. Among other work, she exhibited a colorful room-size installation in VCAM (“Big Mess”) and created an undulating wall-mounted sculpture (“Memory in Wood”) that remains a permanent part of the decor at Green Engine Coffee Company, a favorite hangout near campus.
After graduation, Lamworth moved to New York City to work for a brand strategy firm. “It was an appealing way to get a sense of what it was like to work with a lot of different industries,” she says. “It was wonderful for the exposure.”
In her spare time, she also began working as an independent artist, doing still photography, stop-motion animation, and whimsical tableaux of small sculptures for social media campaigns. Among her clients: a yogurt brand and a manufacturer of natural personal care products.
In September 2019, though, Lamworth decided New York and the 12-hour days at the office were not for her. “I felt so antsy sitting at my desk. I wanted to make things with my hands.” So she quit her job and moved back to her parents’ farm north of Baltimore. “That was one of the scariest decisions I ever made, but it was the best decision.”
While the pandemic has slowed things down a bit, Lamworth has continued to freelance—most recently for the chick pea pasta brand Banza—and was hired by her old firm as a contractor to work on branding projects for a financial services company and an alcoholic beverage manufacturer. In late February, she traveled to South Carolina to help out an artist friend with a sculpture project, learning to work in foam and fiberglass. She says she knows she’s lucky to have parents who support her creative endeavors. “In exchange, I help out on the farm. We have six cows and about 100 chickens, and my moms appreciate me being home."
“Maybe it’s because we have a farm that I like using a lot of food components in my art,” says Lamworth, who also has begun making pun-inspired wearable art—her “tea shirt (above),” for example, crafted from tea bags.
Using food as a medium has its unique challenges, she acknowledges. “I’ve got to finish it right there and then, or it will start to dry out or rot, or my dog will snatch it from the table. Even though it’s captured in a photograph, my art is fleeting, and people are shocked by that sometimes. They think art should last, that it should be up in a museum, and that its longevity is what gives it value. But I think ephemeral art is beautiful—because, really, everything is ephemeral.”