Decorators of Portobello

Nicky Bird's artist residency 'The Decorators of Portobello' has recently concluded with the publishing by Art Walk Press of this project publication 'In their own words' which details the two-year project, interviewing a number of decorators who once worked in Buchan Potteries in Portobello.
More copies of the book will be available from Portobello Bookshop from early Dec (£10).

‘The Decorators of Portobello’ was a multi-generational oral history project seeking to create a lasting record of the working lives and social histories of a group of women (many now in their 70s or 80s) who worked as decorators in Portobello's Buchan potteries in the 1950s and 1960s, painting artwork on the various ceramics produced at the time. The project sought to make visible previously unrecorded social histories for these women, using oral recording and archival photography.

Portobello was one of the main centres of industrial ceramic production in Scotland, dating back to the 1770s. The Buchan Potteries that served this site heralded a sixty year period during which vast quantities of stoneware goods of all descriptions were manufactured. Both utilitarian and fine painted earthenware was produced. Two pottery kilns in Portobello are the only two remaining kilns from across the whole of Central Scotland that are still in existence. No longer in use and normally closed to the public, the kilns are the only physical reminders of a once thriving manufacturing centre that existed in Portobello until the early 1970s.

The two year project involved a series of walks+talks, a community mapping workshop, exhibition, and public cited work.
A full project page detailed all the events and different aspects of the project will be available from here shortly.


Read about 2019-20 Decorators Project with Nicky Bird (first phase of project): view here

See Nicky Bird's web page also detailing the project


Decorators project 2020