The Obovoid Pome "Patience is bitter, but bears sweet fruit"

porcelain, H17 x L20.5 x W20.5 cm, 2014


The Obovoid Pome "Patience is bitter, but bears sweet fruit"

porcelain, H16.5 x L19.5 x W19.5 cm, 2014


The Obovoid Pome "Patience is bitter, but bears sweet fruit"

porcelain, various but within H12 x L12 x W12 cm, 2014


Nicole Portlock

Nicole Portlock is a ceramicist with a passion for both throwing and smoke firing. Her work is often based around current research or themes, so inspiration can come from a myriad of places. She freely admits that smoke firing is now bordering on obsession. The surface and the process being the driving force behind her work. She moved from Tipperary Town to Tournafulla, Co. Limerick in 2011 and this change of location has brought about a big change in the results of her smoke firing. Her studio is now two hundred and ninety meters above sea level on a very exposed hill. Altitude and atmospheric pressures play a large role in the colouration of the smoke firing, which has forced her to adapt the way in which she fires her smoke kiln.


  •  In a world where we are constantly fed computer generated images of perfection, I have embraced the Wabi-Sabi idea of imperfection. I purposely leave my clay slightly off center on the potter’s wheel during the throwing process. This has helped me to release myself from the bonds of the western ideals of perfection and embrace the eastern ideals of beauty. This also creates more of an organic growth within the piece, which is seen in the natural asymmetry of forming fruit. I am in search of beauty which is abundant in Nature’s own vessels; in the containers for seeds or in the protection of buds. I then add a layer of information in the form of the smoke fired surface, in an attempt to show the inner complexity of consciousness on the outside of my forms. Smoke firing is like having the most amazing collaboration with an abstract painter.
  • Smoke firing gives me the surfaces of ancient artifacts which having been dug from the ground, find a home behind the museum glass, through to deep space photographs of forming stars and nebular. It is both a process of hope and intentions, which more often than not surpasses even my wildest dreams of possibilities.


Numerous private collections nationally and internationally

Selected Exhibitions

Culture of Clay, The Hunt Museum, Limerick
Cashelised Visualised, Cashel, Co. Tipperary
Geminate, The Gallery, Excel Centre, Tipperary Town, Co. Tipperary
Killaloe Art Trail, Co. Clare
Limerick Ceramic Works Birthday Exhibition, Limerick
Same Difference, Limerick Ceramic Works, Limerick
Killaloe Art Trail, Co. Clare
Limerick School of Art & Design Degree Show
Down to Earth, The Church Gallery, Limerick
Limerick School of Art & Design Degree Show
Evolving Elements, The Church Gallery, Limerick

Contact Details:

Nicole Portlock

T. +353 (0)85 702 2202