Jacqueline Weaver

Ellsworth Woman Turns Discards into Treasures

Jacqueline Weaver

ELLSWORTH — Where most people see a throwaway, Jessica Harris envisions winged glass piggy banks, tea cup clocks, one of a kind jewelry. Standing in a black-and-white polka dot dress with ruffled neckline and brown suede boots — both dump finds — Jessica is an embodiment of waste not, want not.

Once a tag sale devotee, the 26-year-old has pretty much given up on that since she can find so much at no cost at the Otis, Mariaville and Ellsworth dumps.

“I’m so overloaded with free stuff,” said Jessica, perched on a pastel down-filled sofa — a salvaged piece — in her colorful Ellsworth apartment. “Why buy things when you can get them from the dump?”

She was initiated into the world of trash picking at an impressionable age. Jessica can’t recall a time when she and her two sisters weren’t piling into Dad’s truck to look for discarded treasures at the dump and by the side of the road.

Then her Dad, John Harris, announced one day in 1998 that he had bought a truck and was starting Harris Downeast Disposal in Mariaville.

Despite a childhood filled with joyful scavenging, Jessica was appalled at her father’s new line of work, but cheerfully pitched in when he asked her to paint his business license numbers on the bins set at customer locations.

The next step in her metamorphosis into a serious salvage sleuth was helping out at bulky waste disposal days in various towns.

Jessica’s first disposal day was in Winter Harbor, where, without a mask, she helped shovel Sheetrock from a resident’s truck.

“It was the day from hell, but I found some really neat stuff,” said Jessica. Among the items was a Beach Cruiser bike with fat tires.

A second memorable find from that day was an antique traveling chest. She had just purchased one at an antique store, sold it and then painted the free chest a tropical pink.

It still sits in her studio as a display for her many hand-crafted items.

For more arts & entertainment news, pick up a copy of The Ellsworth American.

Jacqueline Weaver

Jacqueline Weaver

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
Jacqueline's beat covers the eastern Hancock County towns of Lamoine through Gouldsboro as well as Steuben in Washington County. She was a reporter for the New York Times, United Press International and Reuters before moving to Maine. She also publicized medical research at Yale School of Medicine and scientific findings at Yale University for nine years.[email protected]
Jacqueline Weaver

Latest posts by Jacqueline Weaver (see all)