Filling the gap between student potter to self-employed ceramist
Died Monday, October 10, 2022, at age 84.
Alison vividly remembered her first encounter with clay by the river in Devon, where she grew up, and remained fascinated by the material throughout her life.
She began her career as a potter and art teacher after studying at Corsham, Bath Academy of Art. She moved to Edinburgh in the sixties, retrained at Moray House and taught at Edinburgh Academy alongside evening classes for Edinburgh Council.
In the eighties, she moved to Haddington. She established the Poldrate Pottery – training up five local mums to decorate spongeware geese jugs, Edinburgh townhouse cookie jars, and Tam O’Shanters leaping across bridges. Their pots were sold worldwide, from her stalls at local craft fairs to Jenner’s in Edinburgh, Macey’s in New York and Aoyama Square in Tokyo.
When Alison moved to Portobello, she figured out Mrs Coade’s lithodipyra recipe to restore the Coade stone pillars on the Portobello promenade. She was a good friend of the lustre ceramicist Margery Clinton, working as her kiln packer for many years. When Margery died in 2005, she bequeathed Alison her specialist kilns and equipment. With this, Alison founded the Bridge Pottery Collective in Edinburgh in 2009, gently encouraging a new generation of potters to share her passion and knowledge and fulfil their dreams.
In 2014 she set up the landmark ‘Celebrating Ceramics’ exhibition at St Margaret’s House with a section in Margery’s memory, ‘Keeping the flame alive’, Scotland’s largest exhibition of lustreware.
Alison continued her ceramic experiments right to the end, showing her lustre creations in her back garden for Artwalk Porty and creating gold ceramic medals for the village show. Dubbed the Bridge Pottery Collective’s ‘claymatriarch’, she left an enormous legacy which will contribute to the ceramic arts community for many years.