Mary Jo Schmith of Front Avenue Pottery and Tile Has Been Making and Selling Functional Art for Over 20 Years

Mary Jo Schmith of Front Avenue Pottery and Tile has turned her passion for pottery into a business.
Mary Jo Schmith works at her kiln at Front Avenue Pottery and Tile.

As an undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota, Mary Jo Schmith fell in love with pottery. Now, more than 20 years later, she is the award-winning owner of Front Avenue Tile and Pottery near Como Park.

“Working with clay enables me to craft works of art that function in the everyday; in our kitchen, on our table, held in our hands, used hundreds of times with family and friends,” Schmith says.

Front Avenue Tile and Pottery offers a wide range of plates, cups, bowls, platters and cookware. The studio also sells stoneware tile for floors, kitchens and showers, as well as sink basins.

Schmith draws much of her inspiration from the outdoors. She says her pieces reference animals, fish, the sun—anything from nature.

“Inspirations for the studio’s decorative motifs can come from something as insignificant as a daily walk in St. Paul’s Como Park to something more purposeful, like a study of the blue heron,” Schmith says.