Rosie’s Girls Alumni Highlight: Alissa Kenwood
“Watch me break the rules!” Alissa exclaims as she lists her many skills and interests, including welding and martial arts.
The ‘rules’ she’s referring to are the rules that society defines for women and girls about what they can and can’t do, and Alissa has no time for them.
Alissa Kenwood is a co-business owner of Deskpets and an accomplished welder; she’s also 12 years old and a former Rosie’s Girls camper. Alissa’s interest in welding came from the show MythBusters, in which many of the projects involve welding. At 10 years old, there was no out-of-school welding class that she could take so Alissa put her dad up to the task of learning how to weld so that he could teach her. Alissa’s dad enrolled in an adult welding class at the Center for Technology, Essex where he learned a variety of welding techniques to bring home to his daughter.
Eventually, the CTE instructor invited Alissa to come to the class and, shortly thereafter, Deskpets was born.
In a shop full of scavenged metal parts, bolts and nuts of every size, and state of the art welding equipment, Alissa and her dad create metal sculptures for their LLC, Deskpets. From sailboats made from old hammers and saws, to table top playground scenes, to 7 lb slinky dogs made from massive nut, bolts, and springs, the shop abounds with creativity and ingenuity. According to her dad, this is all Alissa. Alissa is also involved in the business management side of things, including how to price her items, understanding credit cards and processing fees, and prioritizing commitments and opportunities. Deskpets items are currently sold in three local stores year-round and will be featured at craft shows in and out of Vermont this coming year.
This summer at Rosie’s Girls Build, I had the great pleasure of meeting Alissa and watching her bring to life a fully functional wooden toy set. Our Rosie’s Girls team knows that not every camper will become a builder or a welder, but seeing Alissa weld up a storm and talk about the design process was an extremely powerful, inspiring, ‘proud-camp-counselor’ moment. Thank you Alissa for welcoming me into your shop and for demonstrating what happens when you create space for a young person’s passion and ambition!
-Nell Carpenter, Education Program Coordinator
For more information on DeskPets:
Biggest selection is at Milton Artists’ Guild, Milton Square next to Aubuchon Hardware, 199 US-7 South, Milton, VT
Limited selection at Arthound Gallery, 21 Essex Way, Essex VT, and ThirtyOdd, 270 Pine St, Burlington, VT.