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.


to read more about Donald, scroll down the page!






Donald working in the pottery

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! 

Donald and some other work

Bonzes and figurines


small bronze

Large Ceramic figure

Small Bronze

A short version of Portaferry Pottery History.

The Pottery started over 40  years ago.  

In 1972 Donald and Heather started 'Little Orchard Pottery', built in an Apple Orchard 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 in 1977 To Ballygowan

1977.  We moved to Heathers home, Donald set up 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 soon became Head of Art & Design.

Next Move, Clay Lakes Studio 1990

Donald took early retirement from teaching, and we moved to live beside one of the Clay Lakes, near Killyleagh.  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 here over the next 15 years

1200 Centigrade

2005 The Pottery,  the Potter and  Potters wife, 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 -

2007 Time to sit back and relax a bit more, but you can not stop a Potter potting! and Donald now has his hands in the clay as he has gone back to the potter's wheel, making bowls, mugs and jugs and he spends hours creating lamps, hens, horses - what you want -  by hand modelling.

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


Portaferry Pottery is here!