Sandy Brown’s Earth Goddess

Work starts on new china clay inspired artwork in St Austell

Groundworks and preparations are underway (from Monday 7th March 2022) to prepare sites in St Austell town centre, ahead of a series of incredible new ceramic artworks being installed, to complete the exciting Whitegold Ceramic Art Trail 3 years in the making.

The Austell Project, led by St Austell Bay Economic Forum, is collaborating with internationally recognised ceramic artists, Sandy Brown, David Mach and Susan Elliot, to introduce beautiful new art commissions into the town – celebrating St Austell’s china clay heritage.

Sandy Brown’s commission, entitled Earth Goddess, will be the tallest ceramic sculpture in the UK once complete, standing at 11.5m high (which is bigger than two double decker buses on top of each other!)  and is set to take residence in Aylmer Square.

The striking form will be created from five large circles of clay, each built in three sections, placed on top of each other – looking like giant ceramic beads on a metal pole – with outstretched arms, about 6m wide, decorated with drops and flashes of bright colour.

Sandy Brown says: “I really want this sculpture to make an impact and for it to visually connect with St Austell’s rich china clay heritage. The Earth Goddess is made of clay, which is so intrinsic to this place. It’s my hope that she celebrates the town’s unique history and represents our collective and eternal roots with the environment, nature, and mother earth.”

David Mach, one of the Britain’s best-known contemporary artists, is also set to install his impressive large scale ceramic mural, entitled Earthly Delights, on a building overlooking East Hill. The 19-metre-wide tile wall seeks to visually represent the culturally defining age of china clay and will be created using over 100 fragments of ceramics such as pieces of broken vases, parts of teapots, cups, pots, and plates – shared by volunteers and residents of St Austell.

David Mach says: “The wall will stand as a kind of monument to St Austell but not just to the town. It’ll celebrate the far-reaching impact of the Cornish China Clay industry, its history and how that goes out into the UK, into Europe and indeed the world.”

In addition, a series of bespoke benches designed by landscaper designer Michael Hawes with expert concrete craftsman Che Paul have been created and inlaid with unique mosaic art by artist Susan Elliott using recycled ceramics.

Susan wanted to make places where people could come together in St Austell – and hopes the beautiful new benches will be cause for conversation too. The design of Susan’s mosaics for the benches encapsulates aspects of coming home, welcome and love – and are in part inspired by Cornwall’s folk myths and legends, which she’s given a contemporary twist.

Alex Murdin, the Austell Project’s Whitegold curator, says: “St Austell is famous for its china clay and has been since about 1740, but as the clay industry declined so did the town’s economic fortune. So, part of what we’ve been doing is inviting world-famous artists to create special public art commissions especially for St Austell, made of clay which helped build this community, to encourage people to think differently about their place and see it differently as well.”

The Austell Project anticipate that it will take two months to install the series of artwork by Sandy Brown, David Mach, and Susan Elliot – ready to greet visitors from early May.

For more information about the Whitegold ceramic artworks and the work of the Austell Project, please visit www.austellproject.co.uk

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