3 Amazing Shops for Cooks in Portland, Maine (According to a Local Artist)
When you think of Maine, what comes to mind? Maybe you think of lobster rolls and the rocky coastline. Maybe you think of cabins in the woods and flannel. Chances are, you think of L.L. Bean — are we right?
Well, one of the people responsible for putting those images of rustic simplicity in your head is Meredith Brockington. As the former photo art director for the iconic Maine brand, Meredith oversaw photo shoots for the company’s catalog and brand campaigns. So, of course, she knows all the best places to shop for wares to make your home magazine-worthy.
These days, Meredith still freelances for L.L. Bean, but she’s busy launching her own business as well. She set out on her own last year, developing and refining her line of macramé wall hangings, table runners, and plant hangers. She says working within the digital world of photography made her crave something more tactile: “I felt I was missing that aspect as an artist, working with my hands, as an art director.”
Working for Maine’s most recognizable brand gave Meredith valuable connections in the artist community. Plus, Meredith adds, “Portland is the best place to start a small business. It’s a supportive community, and also a really collaborative one.”
Meredith shares studio space with ceramicist Kristen Camp, and together the two have launched a line of macramé plant holders made from white cording woven around Campfire Studio pottery. Meredith hopes this will be the first of many collaborations and partnerships with other artists. The renovated textile mill where their studio is located has already attract other artists and makers: photographers, textile artists, and an industrial designer.
Being from Maine, Meredith never thought her home state would have much clout. “You know Portland has made it when saying you’re from this area has value in the creative community,” she says, recalling her experience at Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn last year. “I never knew that saying we’re from Maine would define us as artists and differentiate us in a positive light.”
If you’d like to buy some of Meredith’s macramé pieces, keep an eye out for the launch of her new online store, Amie, on September 1. The site will also feature handmade goods by other female artisans. And if you happen to be in Portland, these are the three stores you need to check out for beautiful, unique kitchenwares and props.
Meredith’s 3 Favorite Shops for Kitchen Goods
1. Folly 101
The owner of this home-decor boutique used to be a prop stylist, which explains why her shop looks like the ultimate prop closet. Here you’ll find a large (color-coded!) selection of table linens, dishes, glassware, cookbooks, and other kitchen goods to drool over. If space is limited in your suitcase, grab a pinch bowl and a tiny spoon, then head down the street to Stonewall Kitchen for some sea salt. When you get home, pour the salt in the bowl and you’ll have a taste of Maine long after your trip is over.
2. More & Co.
Look carefully for this small boutique tucked away on High Street. You’ll be rewarded with a brightly lit, minimally decorated space filled with ceramic mugs and dishes, linen kitchen towels, and one-of-a-kind, limited-edition printed napkins.
Every Kitchn editor owns (and adores) one of these ceramic sip cups, but you can’t go wrong with any of the carefully curated selections from shop owner Maria Alexandra Vettese. (Psst! If you’d rather do your shopping online, More & Co. ships to customers.)
3. Flea for All
Flea for All has all the fun elements of thrift shopping — hunting for unique finds, never knowing what you’ll stumble upon — without any of the hassle. Whether you’re looking for vintage enamel plates or glass decanters, there’s something for everyone’s kitchen here. Bonus: Flea for All also sells handmade goods from local vendors, including pottery from Meredith’s studio-mate, Kristen.