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.

See a full A-Z of Whitegold 2019 Craft Stall Holders here.

If you wanted a craft stall but missed the deadline to apply, contact producer@whitegold.org.uk. 


Talks and Demonstrations


A major new Whitegold International Ceramic Prize will be launched at this year’s festival. Artists, collectives and CIC’s from around the world were 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.  10 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 world.   You can read biographies of all shortlisted artists here.


Paul Jackson at work

Paul Jackson at work

Working with Craft Stall holders and local experienced studio potters we have programmed five practical ceramic demonstrations for you to learn a little bit about potters process and the skills and techniques involved.  We’re delighted to welcome Paul Jackson, Cookie Scottern, Bill Holland, Angie Wickenden and Demelza Whitley to take to the Whitegold stages and show us how they throw, slab build and make figurines.  Follow the link above for more information.  

Look out for some of our craft artists who will be making at their stalls, some will help you have a go yourselves. 



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 wheelTrying a potters wheel
  • build a large communal landscape in clay with artist makers from Brickworks
  • make a clay ‘Buccawidden’ – a ‘white spirit’ or ‘piskie’ associated with local folklore to collect and swap memories and/or fictional stories from local villages, with Zenna Tagney read more
  • create handheld ‘skytips’ to take on a celebratory procession from St Austell Town Centre to Wheal Martyn Heritage Museum, accompanied by storytellers read more
  • have a go at Raku firing, working with Laurence Eastwood, production potter at Leach and Fleur Winter 
  • join PC projects to imagine a colourful, new world of ceramics in the heart of St Austell. Design, draw and cut out shapes as we take over and decorate a shopfront read more
  • make a bee friendly seed bomb at The People’s Seed Bank information stall to take away with you

… 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!


Meet the Maker at the Market House

The Market House is curating pop up gallery and exhibition space in their beautiful and historic building with a ‘Meet the Maker’ event and live music.  See a listing of all exhibitors and examples of their work here.


Artyology Local Artists Exhibition Upstairs in the Market House

The Artyology Team are busy curating an exciting exhibition of local artists work, including works inspired by the Clay Heritage and the re wilded landscape locally. It includes Raku ceramics by our local Raku Master Andy Shepherd of St Austell.


Artyology Clay Art Show at Wheal Martyn’s Rotunda Gallery
Free Entry
A chance to see truly varied art works, from experimental drawings and rubbings to prints, and  photographs all made at Wheal Martyn Clay Museum by members of the public over the summer. The show will be open to the public during the festival. Free entry.


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.


Interactive 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.

We are pleased to welcome the following interactive information stands to Whitegold 2019:

  • Cornwall Wildlife Trust: Protecting Cornwall’s wildlife and wild places on land and in our seas. Passionate about conservation. Helping people enjoy nature for over 50 years
  • Eco-Bos Development Ltd: Eco-Bos are the company behind the vision for the West Carclaze Garden Village, positively transforming more than 500 acres of former china clay land in mid-Cornwall to create a vibrant and sustainable new village with beautiful homes, excellent community and leisure facilities and an extensive country park
  • Imerys:The world leader in mineral-based specialties for industry, Imerys delivers solutions (including China Clay from Mid Cornwall) to a great number of sectors from processing industries to consumer goods and building products. Visit the Imerys exhibition to find out about how St Austell’s china clay is extracted and used in the manufacture of all sorts of products we handle every day.
  • Creative Front, St Austell Townscape Heritage Initiative: Help PC Projects to imagine a colourful, new world of ceramics in the heart of St Austell. Design, draw and cut out shapes as we take over and decorate a shopfront. Read more...
  • Wheal Martyn Clay Works:  Discover more about the lives of those who lived and worked in the shadows of the famous ‘White Pyramids’.  Learn about the new developments taking place at the site, and join in tile painting activities.  

Into the evening...

The festival site in the town centre closes at 4pm, but there’s more to be enjoyed in St Austell into the evening and over the remaining weekend:

Brick Field clamp kiln firing (5 – 9pm)

Join us at our experimental brickworks at Blackpool Pit in Trewoon as we light up the clamp kiln and enjoy baked potato and beans as the bricks are fired.   Artist Roseanna Martin will share stories and experiences of a summer of brickmaking around the heat of the kiln.  


Kneehigh Presents…. The Asylum Weekender

The Asylum is Kneehigh’s fabulous theatre space, a place of fun, playfulness and sanctuary. This year the Asylum is pitched on Carlyon Beach, where once the legendary Coliseum stood. This September, Kneehigh is showcasing a wild medley of work from friends and collaborators. Their festival weekend from 20-22 September features theatre, music, walks, workshops and pop-up events.   

If all the day’s creative activities have whet your appetite for an evening of first class entertainment, visit kneehigh.co.uk for more details.

“This is theatre as a good night out” –the independent

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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