Three St. Louis Artisans on the Rise: Baking, Lettering and Ceramics

 In Guide, Style

Each month, Guided: St. Louis showcases three artisans who bring beautiful, innovative products into the world. Below, creative makers Patty’s Cheesecakes, Theresa Williams and Clay by Tay share insights into their creative ventures.

Image courtesy of Patty’s Cheesecakes.

Pat Upchuch of Patty’s Cheesecakes
Baker Pat Upchurch specializes in satisfying your sweet tooth. Iterating on a classic family recipe, she brings creative flare to her light and fluffy cheesecakes with flavors like Banana Split, Key Lime and S’mores. But Upchurch’s inventiveness doesn’t stop there; she also bakes up cheesecake stuffed cookies, cookie sandwiches and pineapple upside-down cheesecake in Forum Shopping Center’s Baker’s Hub.

Guided: What is it about cheesecake that inspired you to launch Patty’s Cheesecakes?
I learned to cook from my chef Dad. My love and passion for cooking and baking started at his side on a small step ladder. My grandmother, a great cook, always made the best cheesecakes; when she decided to not make them anymore, she gave me her recipe and mixer. So very cool and awesome for me! I created Patty’s Cheesecakes to continue and honor my grandma’s and dad’s legacies—to spread happiness and joy.

Image courtesy of Theresa Williams.

Theresa Williams
St. Louis lettering artist Theresa Williams brings brightness and moxie to hand-lettered designs with punchy, motivating messages such as “Making Art and Breaking Hearts,” “Get Off the Internet and Go Outside” and “Dance Through It.” After recently making the leap into self-employment as a full-time artist, Williams has had work on her mind. Thus, she launched Working Words, a yearlong lettering project that considers what it means to work and what keeps us working hard. 

Guided: Where did the idea for Working Words come from, and where do you hope to take the series? 
Working Words is a passion project I launched at the beginning of 2020, right around the time I left my day job to pursue an independent creative career as a hand-lettering artist. I’ve been in the design world for nearly 10 years and recently realized that hand-lettering is the niche in which I feel coziest, so it was time to pursue that vocation wholeheartedly.

To keep my skills fresh, I decided to give myself a weekly lettering assignment based around one theme. Work became the subject because, well, with my recent job change, work and what it means to me has been on my mind a lot lately! I thought, ‘What better way to work than to make work … about work?!’ At the end of the year, I hope to have a collection of wonderful letterings to admire and inspire more work.

Image courtesy of Clay by Tay.

Taylor Emery of Clay by Tay
Ceramic artist Taylor Emery ensures St. Louis iconography and contemporary pop culture will stand the test of time by firing them onto ceramic mugs. Emery adds texture and pops of colorful glaze over images of Beyoncé, Elvis and Rachel and Ross from “Friends,” bringing a painterly quality to every piece she produces in her Wentzville studio. 

Guided: What is influencing your work right now?
My work is always inspired by pop art and pop culture, but right now my work is also very heavily inspired by being home and living in St. Louis again. I was born and raised in St. Louis and then left for college and a job, so it’s been amazing to be back in the city after being gone for six years. You can find a lot of motifs and St. Louis imagery on my work, including the Arch, the Statue of Saint Louis in front of the Art Museum and various St. Louis neighborhood icons such as The Hill banners and the neon sign of The Grove. 

Featured image courtesy of Theresa Williams.

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