Clay Exchange

Clay Exchange is concerned with developing St Austell’s national and international networks, working with ceramic arts initiatives, festivals and communities world wide. We are proud to be working with the British Ceramic Biennale and other partners in Stoke-on-Trent including our 2019 Quartz prize winner Neil Brownsword and Ceramic tableware designer Emma Bridgewater who opened the Festival for us in 2018.

Clay Exchange is an exploration of how china clay can connect us to other people and places, now and in the future. We want to not only exchange ideas amongst our own communities but also to connect to new people, new ideas and invigorate our creativity. We want to learn from the most exciting, interesting and cutting edge artists, designers and makers, bringing them to Cornwall from around the world to exchange knowledge and culture. We are especially interested in socially engaged ways of working, where artists are at the forefront of connecting communities in creative ways.

Recently we have been exploring how Clay Country can re-connect to Ceramic City, Stoke-on-Trent, the historic heartland of ceramic production where millions of tonnes of St Austell’s china clay have been sent, and a city also looking to refashion it’s future through its industrial past. This relationship is being re-imagined through Brickfield, which aims to re-introduce the china clay pits to people in St Austell and Stoke-on-Trent as a place of human production through the humble brick.

In 2019, we exchanged white china clay with red etruria marl clay for brick making at the Brickfield site in Blackpool Pit and for community brickmaking at Middleport Pottery where the china clay would have arrived from Cornwall by barge.

Globally we are making connections through the International Ceramics Prize, which has been focussed on ceramics in social situations. Clay Exchange projects connect artists and communities together – to share, to understand and to learn.

Brickfield and Clay Exchange are supported by IMERYS.

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