Biddeford is booming!

By Nancy Smith, Executive Director, GrowSmart Maine

I traveled to Biddeford on Saturday July 1 to enjoy the open house at Joseph Webster Glass, a hot glass studio, and to revisit places I came to know as we prepared for our 2015 Summit in this city.  What a fabulous experience!  Joe Webster has created his glassmaking studio in Building 10 of the Pepperell Mill complex right in the downtown.  We arrived in time for the 3 pm demonstration, in which he created a beautiful piece of stemware.


Afterwards, we walked downtown and enjoyed an art exhibit at Engine focused on embroidery work.  I was so pleased to see the space open on a Saturday afternoon and enjoyed the various pieces, particularly those modeled from old human anatomy drawings.

At the other end of Main street we visited Elements where we enjoyed a beer while alternating between resting our feet and perusing the books, finding one that was a keeper.  I enjoyed my Greenwarden from Biddeford’s own Banded Horn Brewery.

What was meant to be a quick visit to Suger wasn’t short at all but was enjoyable!  Bought a little something for my daughter and added to my own Wish List before we headed back to Joseph Webster Glass for the 6 pm creation of a large black vessel.

This was truly the highlight of the day, where, in 90 minutes and with three assistants, Joe created a single piece of perfection; a glass vessel of deep black with strands of white running in two directions.  I was fascinated to observe the artistry and hard, hot labor poured into this creation.


We wrapped up our day with dinner and drinks at Thai ME before heading home, content and once again impressed with this city, which is evolving from a proud heritage of textile manufacturing to a future in which it continues to host creative manufacturing which in addition to Joseph Webster includes AngelRox and HyperLite and foods like Portland Pie Co.

As we plan the program for our 2017 Summit, set for October 18th in Westbrook, we are seeking stories to share that celebrate the theme, “First, build a bridge”.  Has your community, like Biddeford, build a bridge from its past to its future? Contact us and we’ll share information with you so you can share your story with others.  Whether it relates to local economy, community connections, smart design, climate and energy or healthy communities, or perhaps of mix of these fundamental elements of your community, this is your chance to inspire other Maine communities.