Step away from the rainbow-swirled glass pipe. It’s the 21st century and you’re in Portland, an enlightened Shangri-La where you can smoke cannabis from pipes shaped like honey bear bottles, donuts, gnarled pieces of driftwood — even asthma inhalers.
“I’m an asthmatic, and I’m a stoner,” explains Alex Simon, the ceramicist behind those inhaler pipes. “It’s partially a joke, but it’s also elevating an object that has literally saved me so many times. I’m really inspired by keeping the form and giving something a new function.”
Simon runs Make Good Choices, a ceramics line that verges on aggressively fun (i.e. lots of unicorns and rainbows). But she’s just one of many Portland makers upending ideas of what modern smokeware — and cannabis consumption — can look like. Whether your style is muted or gloriously gilded, this city fires up pieces that deserve a place of honor on your mantel. Here are six local ceramicists to know.
Make Good Choices
Simon describes her style as “kitschy but functional,” adding that she’s always looking for ways to “be more sparkly, be more fun.” In addition to her inhaler pipes (which Simon hand-paints, often with a touch of 22-karat gold), she makes pipes cast from lighters, Hitachi Magic Wands and bunny sculptures, as well as pipes that look like unicorn horns — complete with a spiral twist and mother-of-pearl luster for that iridescent finish.
Sticks and stones may break your bones — but they also make great smokeware. Pigeon Toe’s stone pipe, available in eight earthy colorways, such as charcoal gray or olive, is cast from a rock found in Washington’s Washougal River, a tributary of the Columbia. Not to be upstaged, the company, run by two sisters, also makes a stick pipe cast from a piece of Oregon Coast driftwood. It doesn’t get more Cascadian than that.
Find it: North of West
The Pursuits of Happiness
The Aero pipe from The Pursuits of Happiness is a Goop-approved, streamlined update to the classic spoon, but its Voltaire one-hitter is the true find. Painted a solid color (think butter yellow or fire-engine red), with the mouthpiece finished with gold or silver overglaze, it’s as sleek as can be, and very easy to transport.
Find it: Backtalk
Like many other women smokers she knows, Ariel Zimman never identified with stoner culture (pot leaves, rasta flags and abundant tie-dye). So, in 2015, the formally trained ceramicist struck out with her now-signature Stonedware GeoPipes: chic, sharp-angled porcelain pipes glazed in gorgeous hues or hand painted with 22-karat gold. Available in three sizes, they fit snugly in your hand and double as oh-so-classy coffee table décor.
Petra Kaiser of Sandbox Ceramics is a self-taught potter who learned many of her skills through instructional videos on Instagram (what has social media done for you today?). She paints her understated, wheel-thrown donut pipes with thoughtful, angular licks of color, such as black dashes, simple speckles or orange isosceles triangles. Kaiser’s pipes are perfect for the cheeky minimalist.
The duo behind Candy Relics delights in transforming flotsam into playful treasures, such as a porcelain pipe cast from a gently crushed aluminum can. (It comes in solid white, or, for a bit of flash, with a 22-karat gold-coated tab.) Pick up one of Candy Relic’s bubblers, which are cast from a plastic honey bear bottle and available in seven colors, including turquoise, mango and sky blue.
Find it: Serra