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Relic (2015-2020) 2019 Whitegold International Ceramic Prize, Wheal Martyn Clay Works, St Austell

BROWNSWORD, Neil (2020) Relic (2015-2020) 2019 Whitegold International Ceramic Prize, Wheal Martyn Clay Works, St Austell. [Show/Exhibition]

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Abstract or description

Relic is one of a series of interventions by Neil Brownsword which reconnect the histories of St Austell and North Staffordshire - bound by legacies of industrial scale mining and the transformation of china clay. As global economics in recent decades have significantly impacted both traditions and their regional workforce, there generally exists a sense of detachment to the complexity of knowledge involved in china clay extraction and ceramic manufacture. Through his response, Brownsword aims to highlight largely overlooked forms of human ingenuity involved in traditional processes that once sourced raw materials and fashioned material objects in particular ways.

Relic is the culmination of a five-year research project whereby Brownsword has archived and re-choreographed the skills of Stoke-on-Trent based china flower maker Rita Floyd. In re-evaluating this endangered method of mass-production solely reliant upon the dexterity of the hand, Brownsword arrests each stage of Floyd’s craft to expose nuances of touch involved in every flower she was trained to make. Installed for the first time in its near entirety on Wheal Martyn’s pan kiln, Relic connects this industrial craft to the raw materials used in bone china – a clay body perfected in North Staffordshire in the early 19th century, typically consisting of 50% animal bone 25% Cornish stone and 25% china clay. Fragmentary taxonomies and accretions of discarded flowers - reminiscent of local sky-tips, can be regarded simultaneously as metaphors for industrial loss, and as the outcomes of a socially engaged practice that helps to regenerate and sustain traditional knowledge displaced from contemporary production.

Neil Brownsword’s projects Re-Apprenticed and FACTORY through from which this expansive iteration of Relic has developed, have been supported by awards from Arts Council England. In addition, Brownsword’s Whitegold commission has been kindly supported by Imreys, Staffordshire University, Spode Museum Trust, and Valentine Clays.

Item Type: Show/Exhibition
Additional Information: New ceramic exhibition on display at Wheal Martyn https://www.inyourarea.co.uk/news/new-ceramic-exhibition-on-display-at-wheal-martyn/ Austell Project. The best of the best for 2019 https://austellproject.co.uk/the-best-of-the-best-for-2019/ Relic by Neil Brownsword, Wheal Martyn https://www.wheal-martyn.com/relic An interview with 2019 St Austell Prize Winner Professor Neil Brownsword https://vimeo.com/456670081
Faculty: School of Creative Arts and Engineering > Art and Design
Event Title: Relic, Whitegold International Ceramic Prize
Event Location: Wheal Martyn Clay Works, St Austell, UK
Event Dates: 19 September 2020- 30 June 2021
Depositing User: Neil BROWNSWORD
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2021 15:37
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2021 04:30
Related URLs:
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/6724

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  • Relic (2015-2020) 2019 Whitegold International Ceramic Prize, Wheal Martyn Clay Works, St Austell. (deposited 05 Jan 2021 15:37) [Currently Displayed]

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