About Us


Last summer 4 different bird species pairs made my yard their home.  Very unusual!  It was a noisy summer as they continuously sang their warnings about each other!

CLAY gives me a medium to celebrate these never-ending life cycles that surround & move with us thru our days!  A glimpse fired into permanence, the pottery’s surface becomes a sketch book capturing the nuance of a blossoming birch flower or a stem of Rudbeckia bending in the hot summer’s breeze.

I LOVE that I can make functional art!

ESTABLISHED in 2001, Front Avenue Pottery designs and creates fine crafted, high quality, playfully decorative dinner & serving ware & clay tile.

A BFA graduate from the University of Minnesota, artist & potter Mary Jo Schmith was undoubtedly influenced by professors Warren MacKenzie & Mark Pharis & their commitment to functional pottery.  Now with more than 20 years of clay production experience she works daily to produce inspired functional fine craft for your table, kitchen & home.

LOCATED 2 BLOCKS SOUTH OF COMO PARK, St. Paul, Minnesota.  With an open door policy the studio & it’s gallery are open to visitors during studio working hours, M-F, 9AM- 5PM, & gladly by appointment.  There are times when the studio is closed, exhibiting elsewhere, picking up supplies or just “gone fishing”.  Calling ahead is always a good idea.

THE POTTERY IS ALWAYS WORKED IN A SERIES; SEVERAL SIMILAR PIECES MADE AT ONE TIME.  Stoneware crafted by Front Avenue Pottery is wheel thrown & often altered to produce interesting yet functional forms.  Many pieces are hand built from rolled clay.

Front Avenue carries on the tradition of working raw clay into quality, functional, durable, fine crafted stoneware.  Housing two 40 cubic foot natural gas kilns, the studio’s dinner & serving ware is reduction fired to 2300 degrees Fahrenheit, vitrifying the clay & giving the studio’s glazes it’s warm coloring.

Studio formulated & prepared food safe glazes are dipped, hand brushed, slip trailed or airbrushed in playful decorative motifs often repeated in series or sets, making each piece unique!

Lead, Barium & Nickel free, all pottery is food, oven, dishwasher & microwave safe.

INSPIRATIONS FOR THE STUDIO’S DECORATIVE MOTIFS can come from something as insignificant as a daily walk in St. Paul’s Como Park…the budding of the Chinese Chestnut tree…to something more purposeful like a study of the Blue Heron…many hours of paper drawings happen prior to any ceramic decoration.

The pottery’s decorative imagery expresses an ongoing fascination with the cycles of life that surround us every day. References from nature…the animals, fish, the sun… illustrate some very basic elements of our lives, such as water, air, soil, animal and plant; images of nature that move with us through our lives. Cycles that continuing year after year regardless of our current destination.

A LOVE FOR THE BEAUTY OF CRAFT, THE SCIENCE OF RAW MATERIALS & THE UNPREDICTABLE FORCES OF FIRE KEEP EVERY POT A NEW CHALLENGE. Clayworking is first and foremost a learned craft. Skill and technique, accumulated through practice, defines a pot’s quality. Enhancing articles we use every day with images important to our daily lives make it all the more fun!

Like farming, clayworking is a lifestyle, almost never free from the process of clay’s constant change.

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