The second annual whitegold festival of clay kicked off last Saturday morning with a crowd of hundreds who came to celebrate St Austell’s unique China Clay heritage. This year it was officially opened by world famous ceramic designer Emma Bridgewater. Her presence at the festival is part of reconnection between St Austell as the home of China Clay in the UK and the home of Emma’s factory in Stoke-on-Trent, the town celebrated world-wide for its potteries. Emma said on the day “To create new ideas and energy you’ve got to look back to the past and value it and in St Austell you’ve got this golden thread of the clay, so important. We tend to forget what fantastic makers we are, we’re number seven in the world… it’s so great that Cornish ware is being made back in Britain.”

Events on the day included workshops for visitors making their own China Clay treasure bowls with Imerys’ artist in residence Jenny Beavan and with potter Paul Jackson who was making Eucryphia flowers from St Austell with children. A big hit was the demonstration of pottery throwing and decorating by the makers of Cornishware by T G Green and Co. One visitor said: “I would love more opportunity to learn how to work with clay, I had a great introduction to it this afternoon, thank you !”

For the first time this year the festival also included stalls selling the work of local ceramicists, Paul Finlay, Sarah Hunkin and Cookie Scottorn, as well work by other student artists in the Cornwall College project space. Andy Sheppard who has set up a new gallery in St Austell was also demonstrating the spectacular art of raku ceramic firing. The Whitegold organisers have already set a date for next year’s festival  of the 29th September 2018 and are hoping to make it bigger and better. More information will become available on