Brickfield 2021 Activities

In 2021, Brickfield are undertaking three exciting new projects that build on work to date: Brickfield BUILD, Brickfield IN THE CLAYS and Brickfield NEWHAM. We’re also really pleased to be launching our first publication, The Brickfield Guide to Cornish Brickmaking, a record of Brickfield’s work with John Osborne, weaving together his memories, knowledge and family history and connecting them with our contemporary brickmaking project on our site at Imery’s old Blackpool Pit in St Austell.

Our first project of the year and which is already underway is Brickfield, BUILD a collaborative project generously supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, bringing the Brickfield team together with people in community in St Austell and MA Architecture students from Falmouth University. The aim is to connect people with the history and heritage of brick making in the region and to work together to co-design and build brick based structures that will enhance the local environment . Brickfield BUILD is working with two community groups local to St Austell: The Happy Wanderers, a dementia friendly inter-generational walking group supported by the Sensory Trust; and Empower Her, a group of young women supported by The House and Young People Cornwall.

Students and community members will learn hand brick making techniques with the Brickfield team as well as having the opportunity to experience bricklaying and making sustainable from other professionals.

The architecture students will engage with community participants to explore and develop brick designs for the landscape. Designs will be drawn up and presented back to the community who will then be invited to select one to build.

Falmouth University Architecture lecturers Tom Ebdon, Head of Course and Toby Carr will be leading exploration of sustainable building materials, practices and techniques, an area in need of urgent development in response to climate crisis.

Tom Ebdon, Head of Architecture at Falmouth University says

“Brickfield BUILD provides valuable opportunities for our architecture students to work together with community in St Austell, experience the use of local ‘waste’ material for brick making and building, strengthening their skills in co-design and their understanding of connections between materials, place and environment”.

Find out more about this project here

Brickfield in the CLAYS is a continuation of activities established over the last two years and includes a mix of field trips, brick making workshops and kiln firing at Blackpool Pit for the Green and Whitegold Festival on June 26th. We will be inviting participants to make bricks that will contribute to the BUILD project as well as gathering their ideas for other community uses. Join us on June 5th for our first Brickathon or brickmaking marathon of the season.

Brickfield NEWHAM is a collaborative project with the Victoria and Albert Research Institute (VARI), University of East London (UEL), Newham Council and Newham Heritage Month. The project will explore clay and its importance to the urban landscape by connecting people literally to the London earth beneath their feet.

Members of the Brickfield team will be taking their skills and expertise to London where they will work together with Dr Georgia Haseldine, Public Engagement Fellow at V&A and project partners in Newham to run a Brickathon – a brick making marathon – and a week-long residency exploring the history of brick through lectures, seminars and workshops. The residency will culminate in kiln building and firing and a specially devised MA Performance Art piece created by students at UEL.

Brickfield NEWHAM has been made possible with the generous support of the V&A, Newham Council, UEL and Newham Heritage Month.

The project draws on Newham’s nineteenth century history of brickmaking, when itinerant brickmakers leased land across Newham to dig clay, make and fire bricks. These brickfields provided the materials for building houses for the borough’s workers and the industries they laboured in.

Participants, including drama students from UEL and a community of interest drawn from East London residents and young people from Stratford Youth Zone, will explore themes of dwelling, living and claiming the earth through performance and brickmaking. Rooted in Newham’s history of industrialisation and habitation, the project will provide a hearth to share experiences of living in Newham and to listen to each person’s vision of its future.

The Brickfield team are excited to be venturing to London. They will be sharing project progress through social media channels, as well as reflecting on their urban experiences on their return to Cornwall.

Find out more about this project on the V&A website.

The Brickfield Guide to Cornish Brickmaking is a record of Brickfield’s work with John Osborne in 2020 and 2021, weaving together his memories, knowledge and family history with the creation of a site of contemporary brickmaking at Imery’s old Blackpool Pit in St Austell. It is a celebration of John’s skill and the value of his heritage in contemporary ceramic practice.

This limited edition brickshaped 37 page booklet designed by Phyllidda Bluemel with photographs by Oliver Udy and James Darling and with text by Brickfield lead artist, Rosanna Martin is printed using a specialist Risograph process. It comes with 9 extra inserts each depicting heritage hand made bricks found on the site of Wheal Remfry brickworks where Joihn Osborne worked until the early 70’s.

Alongside the booklet there are further photographs by Oliver Udy and a film made by Rachael Jones that focusses on John’s rediscovery of the Wheal Remfry brickworks, near Fraddon, almost 50 years after he walked away from the yard in 1971.

We will be launching the booklet, photos and film after Easter. Copies will be on sale at £15 inc UK P&P. Please email to pre-order your copy.

Brickfield Guide
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Brickfield BUILD

Find out about Brickfield BUILD, an exciting Heritage Lottery funded project for 2021.