Field Trip, Groundwork

  • Image: The chimney at Trelonk Brickworks on the Fal estuary, courtesy Rosanna Martin

Brickworks | A Groundwork Field Trip

A brick clamp kiln is the oldest way of firing bricks. Bricks are stacked in formation, a fire is lit from underneath and slowly the water content evaporates, the heat builds and the bricks transform from clay into ceramic. A brickworks existed on the banks of the Fal estuary between 1891 and 1907. Rudimentary refining within the china clay extraction processes had led to tons of quality clay being washed down rivers, silting up the creeks. The lost clay was noticed as a new resource and dredged from the river, mixed with sand, mud and soil and formed into bricks, which were fired on site in huge beehive kilns before being sent down river by barge to build houses in Truro and Falmouth.

All that remains at the site of the brickworks today is a tall chimney, once used to draw air through the kilns to keep the temperatures rising.

On Friday 21 and Saturday 22 September Rosanna Martin will lead a brick clamp kiln firing workshop using the lost river clay. Participants will be invited to come at designated times on Friday and Saturday to make their own bricks, which can be added to the kiln to be fired. The kiln will be lit on Friday morning and kept alight until Saturday afternoon, growing over the course of the two days as bricks are added.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Rosanna for more details: [email protected]

With a focus on place and an emphasis on moving image, sound and performance, the Groundwork season presents new commissions and sited work by internationally acclaimed artists in Cornwall. A changing programme of exhibitions and events unfolds from May to September – visit www.groundwork.art for more information.

Groundwork field trips will take place at intervals throughout the summer, exploring a particular terrain, history or set of ideas and bringing together participants from a range of disciplines. Opportunities to join field trips will be announced through newsletters and on the website.

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