A Space Man has appeared in the centre of St Austell – as the first Whitegold Project public art commission is unveiled in Old Vicarage Place.
The mosaic forms the start of a new artwork trail, which will see the introduction of 14 public art pieces taking residency across St Austell’s centre over the next year as part of the Whitegold Project.
Created by renowned mosaicist Cleo Mussi the mosaic is made from recycled china clay, from St Austell, in the form of old English porcelain. Historically St Austell’s china clay was sent to places like Stoke-On-Trent and made into some of the finest ceramics in the world.
Now, the china clay makes a return to St Austell in this new Space Man form – built from ceramic pieces that date from to the Edwardian period to the present day, including fragments from the well-known Emma Bridgewater pottery – for local residents and visitors to enjoy.
In addition to being the first of Whitegold’s public art installation, the Space Man also neatly ties together two of the Austell Project themes – Create and Green, for he is in a fact a seed scientist – and so celebrates St Austell’s connection to leading horticultural institutions, from Tregrehan Garden, to the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden Project.
The Eden Project is also now the home of the National Wildflower Centre seed bank where scientists are working to reverse ecological decline. As part of the Garden Route sites around the town are being planted with beautiful wildflowers – the largest of which is Cornwall’s first wildflower corridor along the roadside verges of the A391.
With its convex mirrored face, Mussi says of The Space Man: “As we peer into the mirror, do we see the scientist making judgement on the seeds, or our reflection indicating that we are all responsible for saving the Earth’s limited resources and the end of the wild?”
The artist Cleo Mussi is possibly the best known and well respected mosaicist working in the UK. Originally trained at Goldsmiths in the late 80’s she has completed a number of large commissions for public spaces including The John Lewis Partnership in Solihull and The BBC Asian Network in Leicester.