Artist Displays Painted Pottery at Portland Art Walk

A lively crowd bustled down the streets of Portland during the First Friday Art Walk last week. 

Rays of sunshine scattered themselves across the tables of local artisans and vendors that lined the brick sidewalks along Congress street.

As far as the eye could see, people smiled and danced and talked with boisterous excitement. At one end of Congress, a spirited brass band dazzled a crowd; on the other, a bluegrass duo played upbeat music for passersby's.

As music and conversation filled the air, attendees navigated through a colorful sea of local paintings and drawings, pottery and jewelry, blankets and clothing.

One of these talented creators was Piper Smith, a local potter and graduate from Maine College of Art & Design (MECA) in Portland. She is also the owner of Bracken & Briar, a small batch shop that sells pottery and prints online, in some local shops and at makers markets.

Over the past six years, Piper has dedicated her time to working with low-fire clay and hand builds every single piece with meticulous care and precision. 

Instead of using a pottery wheel, Piper personally hand-paints and shapes each item, carefully firing them twice in the kiln. 

These efforts are more than just a hobby to Piper: it serves as a full-time job that Piper says brings her an immense amount of happiness and fulfillment.

During her time at MECA, Piper decided to sign up for a variety of classes to gauge her interests. It was a wheel throwing class she signed up for, she said, that inexplicably captured her heart and fueled her determination to excel in pottery. 

“For some reason I knew I needed to be doing this, so I decided to major in it, and it’s been in my life ever since. I love that I can lose myself in it.”

Piper looked proudly at her creations. In synchronicity with her smile, her fingers continued to intertwine crochet loops into string, a hobby she enjoyed doing while selling her pottery at art walks. 

“When I am creating, I completely forget time and worries — and that’s what I love about it.”

Piper’s journey as a potter is an inspiring reminder that we all have the power to follow our hearts, our hopes and our dreams — and to embrace the joy that comes from creating something truly meaningful not only for those around us, but for ourselves as well.