Sculptor offers handmade ceramics to Palouse

Smith makes artwork from scratch, offers local pottery classes



Kassie Smith, owner of KSmith Ceramics, explains how she makes ramen bowls with chopstick holders on June 16 at the Moscow Farmers Market.

CHLOE GRUNDMEIER, Evergreen reporter

Artwork comes in many forms and can be made out of common household items, and local potter Kassie Smith enjoys providing people on the Palouse with these original, handcrafted pieces of art.

Smith formally trained in ceramic sculpture and received a master’s degree in fine arts from University of Idaho. She began making functional art to practice sculpting in her spare time. She also found she could make some extra money by selling her pieces.

“I love being elbow deep in a pile of mud,” Smith said. “It’s a very meditative, very physical labor. It’s a great workout that takes a lump of mud and turns it into something beautiful.”

Smith now owns KSmith Ceramics, which sells her functional pottery and fine art commissions at several locations around the Palouse. She also teaches pottery classes in Uniontown to help spread appreciation for the craft.

“There aren’t very many [ceramic] producers in the area who have the time to produce enough to sell to the community,” Smith said. “I’m trying to make a baseline for community members to understand ceramic art and appreciate it more so when other producers come to town everyone is already familiar with the art.”

Smith makes her pieces completely from scratch. She mixes most of the clay herself and creates glazes from mined materials. She uses the glazes to add color and texture to the pieces before they’re heated at 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit.

“I love glaze chemistry and getting to play with different textures and layers and colors,” she said. “Understanding the chemistry behind the combinations is fascinating.”

The most popular pieces Smith sells are mugs and ramen bowls with chopstick holders. She said even though she makes them over and over again, she never gets bored of making new mugs.

“Mugs are intimate objects, we hold them in our hands and put our mouths on them,” Smith said. “It’s special to have a relationship with an inanimate object and having one that is locally made by hand adds a level of wonder and appreciation.”

Smith sells her pieces at the One World Cafe in Moscow year-round and during the Moscow Farmers Market 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday throughout the summer and fall. She also has a selection for sale at the Artisans at the Dahmen Barn in Uniontown where her classes are held. Most of her works range from $15-$40.

“I love watching people come to my table at the market and pick up every mug on my table to find the one that fits their hand perfectly,” she said. “Knowing my little clay babies are going to a good home and building relationships with consumers is very important to me.”