Welcome to the Portaferry Pottery

The pottery is very small, in a wooden shed in the garden, there are a few steps up to it, and a  little path.  As there is only one potter,  there is not much room inside,  the classes we take have only a small number of students, but this also means you get more individual attention! 

The Pottery

Are You coming to one of our classes?

Press moulded bowl and hand decoration

Heathers Pottery

Welcome to Portaferry Pottery

 The Portaferry Pottery keeps both Donald and Heather busy, making, decorating and attending Craft Fairs and the Portaferry Market.

Donald and some other work

Bonzes and figurines


small bronze

Large Ceramic figure

Small Bronze



Royal Barum Pottery Ltd, North Devon, Designer & Model Maker, .

Arklow Pottery, Co Wicklow,  Designer & Model Maker,

Wade Ireland, Portadown, Co Armagh,   Designer & Model Maker, 

Manager Director and Owner, Little Orchard Pottery, Portadown, Co Armagh,

 Head of Art & Design Dept. East Down Institute, of F&H.E. 


In 2005 He moved to Portaferry, and set up a New Studio,

The Portaferry Pottery was born.


Donald Nelson.


Life has always presented itself to me in terms of form and texture.

Having trained as an industrial designer, I am now feeling the freedom of working the clay with my fingers instead of machines I am now only confined by the size of my kiln and my imagination.



A short version of Portaferry Pottery History.

The Pottery started some years ago, in fact it was over 40  years ago.

In 1972 Little Orchard Pottery started, in Cranagill, Portadown, we had 9 workers and a purpose-built pottery.  We also Had a small shop selling local craft items, including our own pottery.  You may have visitied us during an Apple Blossom Tour! 

The Pottery Moved To Ballygowan

We moved the pottery to Ballygowan,in 1977 and became a one-man pottery, with a little help from the family, when big orders came.

  Little Orchard Pottery started a bigger craft shoop in Saintfield, Co Down.

Donald started teaching in Downpatrick and became Head of Art & Design.

Next Move, Clay Lakes Studio 1990

Where we next lived was beside one of the Clay Lakes, near Killyleagh.    Donald took early retirement from teaching and started a one-man pottery.  He specialised in Dinnerware, Creating The Farmhouse Range, which included plates, dishes and cutlery to match. The Pottery was a small industrial pottery.  We continued this over the next15 years

1200 Centigrade

 The Pottery,  the Potter and Heather moved to a small cottage just outside the town of Portaferry there were no sheds, -  nowhere for the pottery!  A shed had to be built, there was no 3-phase for our large kiln, a generator had to be bought and moved in  and we had orders waiting to go out.  The beginning of 2005 was very busy! 


We no longer could be Clay Lakes, so we changed the name to 1200 Centigrade, which was the temperature the clay was fired at.

We closed the industrial pottery -

Time to sit back and relax a bit more, but you cant stop a potter potting! and Donald now has his hands in the clay as he has gone back to the potters wheel,making bowls, mugs and dishes and he spends hours creating lamps, hens, horses - what you want -  by hand modelling.

The machines have gone, the  moulds thrown away, and its all hands on - hand made.


Portaferry Pottery is here!

Book Today!

We run a small pottery club, but it is fully booked out.

We hope to start a second club, or run a few classes, please email us for furthern information.