Black History 365: Makeda Smith

Makeda Smith of Sio Ceramics intertwines intriguing shapes and surprising details into her work.

Sio Ceramics 

Brookland Art Walk, Washington DC

Makeda Smith’s ceramics feature irresistible palates, intriguing shapes and surprising details. She first took a ceramics class in college and fell in love. After teaching for years and earning a Master’s in education, she missed her spark. She took another class, then an artist residency, and launched Sio Ceramics last year. 

It’s hard starting a second career, but the process keeps Smith motivated. “The work is really meditative,” Smith says, and then she gets to share it. “That people share stories about finding joy out of something I create is really, really satisfying,” she says. 

Smith just picked up the keys to her first retail and studio space. While she’s moving in, sales will still run through her retail partners (like Salt and Sundry and Shopmade in DC,) and her self-made website. The pandemic served as a catalyst, helping her pull it all together, but she’s not hustling. She’s savorying the process. “If it’s not sparking joy like Marie Kondo,” she says, “it’s gotta go.” 

Website –

Instagram – @sioceramics

Smith recommends – @khaoscreates