A flat bottomed bird. Abe was made and decorated by Kerry - mother, artist and poet from the Portland street area. Abe has a beautiful painterly quality - his grey, green, purple feathers are stunning. He has been made using grogged white clay, and painted with a variety of slips and glazes. Sadly Abe has a large crack down the bottom of his chest, even though this isn’t very noticeable, it means he’s not totally weatherproof.
The Portland Pigeon is a bespoke ceramic piece, created in collaboration with local residents of Portland Street, Stoke On Trent. Like many of our projects, it started when we noticed something that needed doing. Our building had a hole in the roof – we needed a ridge tile to fix the hole – and we thought about making it a decorative one – adorned with a pigeon! From there we also developed a range of pigeon sculptures that can be attached to the roof, or placed anywhere in the garden or home.
Homing pigeons are our inspiration. They travel long distances, through treacherous weather conditions to come home. Stoke On Trent is home to a lot of pigeon fanciers and racers – so it seems fitting that this working pigeon be The Portland Inn Project mascot.
A decorative ridge tile is the triangular tile that goes on your roof or ‘finial’. Some people have other birds, like owls or eagles and some have gargoyles!
By purchasing a pigeon and installing it on your roof (wherever you may live), or displaying it in your house, you are demonstrating your support for our project. They can be housed anywhere you like and are suitable for all weather conditions – apart from a hurricane.
Our Portland Pigeons are handcrafted in Stoke On Trent.
The method used to create the original birds involved creating two equal shaped pinch pots which are then joined together. A traditional, hand-sculpting technique is used to tap and lengthen the shape with a wooden paddle, allowing the bird form to emerge from the clay.
From these sculpted birds, we created two different pigeon shapes. A mould was made for each and then all birds press moulded from these two shapes. The press-moulded pigeons are then hand fettled and feathered with traditional sgrafitto mark-making using bespoke coloured slips.
The pigeons are first biscuit fired to 1000C, and then glazed and fired a second time at 1220C. This process means that each Pigeon is unique, and hand crafted at each stage of the making process. Even our packaging is hand screen printed, and the artwork created in collaboration with our young members!
These birds have been created lovingly by members of our community in our temporary space. Look carefully at the pictures of your bird before choosing: each bird is carefully hand-made and unique, and has all the loveable characteristics and anomalies of a studio pottery object.
You can install a ridge bottomed pigeon on your roof tile using cement, but please research install possibilities before doing so.
The shipping cost includes postage and packaging, sent second class tracked.
If you are purchasing outside of the UK, please get in touch beforehand so we can research postage options and edit the price.
Anyone purchasing locally, and wanting to collect can request a refund of the postage cost prior to purchase - just get in touch!