2016 Whitegold Festival of Clay

ARTISTS: Karl Owen, Lisa Mortensen, Jenny Beavan, Paul Jackson, Karl Owen, Sarah Cooling, Vicky Aimers, Fjike Middledor, Vanessa Penrose, Amy Cooper, Wendy Wilbraham, Jane Smith, Amie Scott, Vicky Aimers, Chris Prindl, Daisy Corfield, Geo Palmer, Rhiannan Van Muysen, Lou Thorn.

The first ever Whitegold Festival was a pop up to test the waters. We were pleased that hundreds of people visiting the event, getting their hands messy and learning more about the heritage and future of clay in St Austell.

“There are never enough opportunities for showing work… so in Mid–Cornwall it would be great if life could be enriched… I think more events like this to get public interest in ceramics would be very good.” 

Whitegold was a pop up arts, crafts and food festival that took place on Saturday October 1, 2016 in White River Place in St. Austell town centre between 10am and 4pm. The festival was primarily a celebration china clay, or “white gold”, the material that has made the St Austell area such a fascinating place for the past 250 years.

The festival featured an exhibition by Cornwall College, two open access clay workshops by Jenny Beavan and Paul Jackson, displays on china clay past and present by Imerys (the current local manufacturer of the clay) and the Wheal Martyn Museum, street food by Cornwall College students, beer tasting by the St Austell Brewery and a “guerrilla garden” by The Eden Project. A key feature of the day was a presentation by James Staughton (CEO, St Austell Brewery) and Tim Smit (CEO, Eden Project) of the St Austell Economic Forum vision for “Clay Town”, the future cultural regeneration of St Austell through its china clay heritage and contemporary art. Documentation of the project was commissioned with film maker Oli Udely from Plymouth University making a short film of the day.

“everyone’s been really enthusiastic and positive about what they’ve seen… some of the people on this stand have been talking about their fathers and grandfathers working in the industry, it has been really enlightening for us to hear some of the stories from people who have come and reminisced…people see it [the festival] as a link to past and a link to the future..” John Hodkin, Business Development Manager for Imerys

The WHITEGOLD festival 2016 was a partnership of Cornwall College, The Eden Project, Plymouth University and Wheal Martyn museum. It was generously funded by Arts Council England and sponsored by St Austell Brewery, with support in kind from White River Place. It is an initiative of Tim Smit at the Eden Project and James Staughton from St Austell Brewery with the St Austell Bay Economic Forum and Cornwall Council.

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