Our Artists

We are pleased to introduce the wonderful people, the artists and artisans, who glaze and paint the brightly coloured majolica of Porches Pottery. We are a little community, and most of us have been working and painting at Porches for decades. We all share the joint aim of continuing in the traditions and spirit that our founders, Patrick Swift and Lima de Freitas, first envisaged.

Artist's Profile

Estella Swift Goldmann

Estella clearly remembers coming to work with her father, our pottery’s founder Patrick Swift, as a child. As a youngster, she was occasionally asked to colour in the backgrounds of large tile murals for her Dad. Later, as a teen, she was taught the fundamentals of painting by her older sister Katherine, crucially the importance of working confidently and boldly. Since these early days, she has come to helm the pottery, first alongside her mother, Oonagh, and now alongside her sister, Juliet. She always brings kindness and consideration to her role as a leader, and to her work as an artist. Estella’s style is characterised by her precise and impeccable brush control, her elegant mark making, and her uncanny sense of shape and use of negative space.

Artist's Profile

Juliet Swift

As Patrick Swift’s daughter, Juliet was practically brought up in the pottery which she now runs alongside her sister, Stella. Though she has childhood memories of the pottery being founded, Juliet’s career at the pottery began in 1976. She was working at the pottery whilst building a portfolio for art college. She was taught to throw pottery on the wheel, to build ‘slab’ pots, and she took every opportunity to sculpt, creating figurines and the moulds in which to make them. After many years away, Juliet returned to the pottery in 2000 and relearned the art of ceramic painting from her elder sister Kate. Juliet’s work is unmistakable for its bounding energy, creativity and playfulness; for her curious owls and ebullient fishes; not to mention her large scale 'azulejo' murals.

Artist's Profile

Brian Fortune

As Patrick Swift's grandson and Juliet Swift's son, Brian is steeped in the lore of Porches Pottery. Originally trained as a filmmaker, he worked in digital media for many years in Dublin, London and Canada. He feels warmly welcomed as a third generation of the Swift family painting at the pottery.

Painter's Profile

Carmo Santos

In 1981, at twenty-three years of age, Carmo left her training as a dressmaker to join the Porches Pottery.

She began by making clay ornaments at home for the pottery, before coming on board as a glazer. After a short time, Carmo went on to be trained by the pottery’s founder, Patrick Swift, who taught her some simple designs. She went on to become one of the most talented painters in the pottery's history.

Carmo is a very talented and versatile painter. She specialises in the Lily Flower design, but works in a broad range of design, and is an expert of fish, rabbits, hare and deer motifs.

It is easy to identify Carmo’s work, she signs her pieces with the initials ‘C.S.’

Learn more about the Lily Flower Design that Carmos specialises in here.

Painter's Profile

Manuela Gonçalves

In 1981, Manuela, who had been working on her family farm was looking for a change of scenery, when the opportunity to work at the pottery arose.

A tremendously energetic person, she began her career glazing, making clay ornaments, and unloading kilns. It was the pottery’s founder, Patrick Swift, that taught her to paint the Rambling Rose design, of which she is the renowned expert today.

Manuela signs all of her work with her initials, ‘M.G.’

Learn more about the Rambling Rose design that Manuela specialiese in here.

Painter's Profile

Rosa Lima

Rosa came to join the Porches Pottery all the way back in 1976. With the retirement of her cousin, Ana Bôto, in 2019, she is the pottery’s most experienced and longest serving painter.

Rosa trained in dressmaking and embroidery before coming to work at the pottery at Ana’s behest. Rosa is the long standing expert of the Wild Berry design and the Artichoke design, though she also paints a version of the Lily Flower design in her own unmistakable way.

Rosa’s work is all signed with her initials ‘R.L.’

Learn more about the Wild Berry design here.

Painter's Profile

Sónia Vieira

At the age of twenty, Sónia was invited by Ana Bôto to join her elder sister Maria Eulália and her godmother Rosa Lima at the pottery.

Sónia began by learning to glaze, and in time became our resident expert kiln technician. Not too long after, Sónia was taught to paint the Queen’s Earring design, before settling on the Primavera design that she enjoys the most today. Sónia's sister, Maria Eulália, retired in 2023, and she has since begun painting the Queen's Earring design in her stead.

Sónia signs all of her work with her initials ‘S.V.’

Learn more about the Priamvea design here.

Painter's Profile

Maria José Fernandes

Maria José, better known to us as Zéia, began her career at Porches working in our café.

She was invited to work at the pottery itself in 1993, where she learned the Primavera design among others, of which she is now a true expert. Zéia is such a cheerful and helpful colleague, and really helps to keep us working together as a team.

Maria José Fernandes signs her work ‘M.J.F.’

Learn more bout the Primavera Design here.