Clay Exchange

One brick at a time

The people of St Austell, the surrounding villages and beyond are invited to help revive the centuries old Cornish art of brick making as part of a project designed to celebrate the unique history of Mid Cornwall and its links with China Clay.

Brickfield is an experimental community brickworks at Imerys’ former Blackpool Pit set up by lead artist Rosanna Martin with Georgia Gendall in 2019. This year local ceramicists Bobi Macfazdean and Zenna Tagney have joined the Brickfield team. They will be working together with Rosanna and local brickmaker John Osborne running free workshops open to the general public as well as a wide range of community groups, inviting people to join together to make enough bricks to build something.

“In 2019 we welcomed lots of different people on site to make bricks. We fired 150 successful bricks so there’s plenty of work to do to improve our productivity and match the 900 bricks a day made by two men like John Osborne working together at Wheal Remfry brickworks, Fraddon up until the 1970’s”.

Dr Katie Bunnell, Curator, says: “Brickfield uses traditional brick making methods as a way of bringing communities together and exploring how through collective thinking and shared labour, we can make a new site of handmade industry. The processes involved in traditional brick-making are accessible and fun as well as providing a unique insight into an entire making cycle from clay collection to fired end product.”

“We are incredibly grateful to Imerys for their support, without which we wouldn’t have been able to bring forward Brickfield, and for the use of Blackpool Pit as a fitting base for a project celebrating clay past, present and future.”

Our first brick making workshops for 2020 will be on 15/16 May as part of the Crafts Councils Hey Clay initiative. Workshops are free, open to all ages and abilities and will run from 10.30am – 4pm with brickmaking demonstrations at 10.30am and 1.30pm.

Please allow a minimum of 90 minutes on site or stay all day if you’ve caught the brickmaking bug!

On a rainy day there is a limit on numbers of participants so it’s important to register for a place. Please mail brickfield@whitegold.org.uk to sign up.

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