10am – 4pm Saturday 21st September 2019
White River Place | Fore Street | The Market House | Biddick’s Court

Mark the 21st September in your diary to come join us in St Austell for the Whitegold Festival of Clay 2019!

Our team is busy behind the scenes building a great day out for you and all the family, with craft stalls, hands on workshops, live performance, food and drink.  Come along and get in touch with your creative side and learn more about St Austell’s clay industry past, present and future!

What’s on at Whitegold 2019?

Craft Fair

happy craft fair purchase
A high-quality ceramic and craft fair sits at the heart of the festival, with free stalls available to local makers to display and sell their work.  We look particularly for artists whose work has a connection to clay, to kaolin, or to clay country.  Stall holders are encouraged to display and sell pieces across a broad price spectrum, so to encourage someone’s very first purchase of an original piece of ceramic art.

If you are interested in a free stall at the festival apply here.  We will let stall holders know if their application has been successful in the first week of August. 


Talks and Demonstrations

The major new Whitegold International Ceramic Prize will be launched at this year’s festival. Artists, collectives and CIC’s from around the world are invited to submit works that use clay to inspire new perspectives and insights into place – the specific character of a location that makes it unique.  All shortlisted artists will be making a visit to St Austell on festival weekend and their itinerary will include making a presentation about their work at the festival, so come along and hear from some of the most interesting ceramic artists in the country. 

Working with Craft Stall holders and local experienced studio potters we will be programming a series of practical demonstrations for you to learn a little bit about potters process and the skills and techniques involved. 

Invitations are in circulation for a high-profile potter/maker to open the 2019 festival – watch this space! Previous guests include Emma Bridgewater in 2017.

Hands On Workshops

We can keep you busy all day if you take part in our free hands-on workshops led by local makers. At Whitegold 2019 you’ll have the chance to get your hands dirty and…

  • try your hand at throwing a pot on a potters wheel;Trying a potters wheel
  • build a large communal landscape in clay with artist makers from Brickworks;
  • make a clay ‘Bucca Gwidden’ – a ‘white spirit’ or ‘piskie’ associated with local folklore to collect and swap memories and/or fictional stories from local villages, with Zenna Tagney
  • create handheld ‘skytips’ to take on a celebratory procession from St Austell Town Centre to Wheal Martyn Heritage Museum, accompanied by storytellers.
  • have a go at Raku firing, working with Laurence Eastwood, production potter at Leach.

… and a short distance out of town we’ll be running one one of our Brickfield workshops where you can have a go at making a handmade brick at our experimental brick works at Blackpool Pit (Trewoon).

Live Music and Performance

Our live music and performance programme draws back to a connection with clay heritage and culture, whilst creating a vibrant atmosphere in town. All performances are open air and some are found in unexpected and unusual places!

At Whitegold 2019 you’ll be able to see:

  • Performances from St Austell’s own brass band. There has been a long association between mining villages and brass bands. Established in 1838 St Austell Town Band is still going strong.
  • A new contemporary dance work from Spindrift Dance Collective, ‘The Flock’ will dance across the site, appearing and disappearing, telling stories, dancing in doorways and highlighting landscapes and environments. Spindrift will lead a workshop during the day following which participants will be included in a performance later in the afternoon
  • Showcase of Clay Songs by local primary schools. Children will be performing music that they’ve written inspired by visits to Wheal Martyn museum and play with clay – it’s textures and sounds, with local ceramicist Fleur Winter and musicians from the Cornwall Music Education Hub
  • Busking performances from local singer songwriters, brought to you in collaboration with Restormel Arts.

Watch out for lofty appearances from our friends from Higher Beings too!

Food and Drink

The Whitegold traditional Cornish clay oven is becoming a regular feature of the festival, serving pizza’s, bread, soups and stews and other tasty treats. In 2019 we will be working with our friends at Cornwall Food Foundation’s Food for Change programme and the FoodWorks cooking courses team.  

Family owned St Austell Brewery will also make their usual appearance, providing samples of their locally brewed beers and lagers.


Information Stands

The festival provides a great opportunity for the public to learn more about the mining process and what the kaolin clay is used for. Members of the public are often surprised about the many varied uses of this mineral in paper and magazine production, paint and pharmaceuticals as well as porcelain.

At festivals past, we’ve been able to share information about the new EcoBos development and the new link road.  Watch this space to find out what information and initiatives we’ll be sharing on festival day in 2019. 

How can I get involved?

Whitegold Festival of Clay aims to encourage as many people as we can to get in touch with their creative side and to join in with the community.  We are keen to welcome people passionate about clay, crafting and making to come and join the team and act as ambassadors for creativity, supporting workshops, encouraging passers-by to join in and have a go, holding a conversation and listening to responses.  If you would like to support the festival by becoming a volunteer please get in touch with us via producer@whitegold.org.uk 

You might be interested in taking up the offer a having a stall at the festival – using this to sell or show work, on your own or with others.

You might be keen to share something about your practice in a live demonstration.

The simplest way to get involved is come along and experience the festival with your family and friends –  come and see the presentations from the Ceramic Prize shortlisters, our guests and partners, join in the workshops, enjoy the performances.  And maybe you’ll be inspired to take a bigger role in the festival next year.

Check out our friends from Breeze who’s art & makers fair in Penzance this year will be from the 13th to the 15th of September 2019.

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