David Mach, Earthly delights

Internationally famous artist, David Mach has been awarded the Ope commission to create a ceramic art installation which will be displayed in St Austell Town Centre. Ope is a Cornish word for “alley“. This project is one of a number of public space commissions for St Austell by the Whitegold Project. Chandos Place is a main pedestrian thoroughfare in St Austell town centre, connecting Fore St with Old Vicarage Place. It is a challenging space but one with scale and presence, and an important connection from the main street to the central square in St Austell.

David Mach is a well-established artist who has become famous for his large scale installations and more permanent works in public spaces across the UK and internationally. A Turner Prize nominee whose work is in the Tate collection, David has never though conformed to expectations and continues to surprise with his irreverent, witty and thought-provoking projects from massed consumer materials. David has built everything from a Polaris submarine out of tyres to a Gorilla out of coat hangers. He is perhaps best known for his public art works “Out of Order” (1989) the sculpture of red telephone boxes falling in domino fashion in Kingston Upon Thames and the Darlington “Train” (1997) sculpture made from 185,000 bricks.

David has proposed a work which will involved incorporating the ceramic fragments that people find into a wall based artwork for Chandos place. Composed of hundreds of fragments, broken pieces of vase, parts of teapots, segments of teacups, plates, saucers, and everything ceramic, Mach’s commission, entitled ‘ Earthly Delights ‘ is set to be installed by the Autumn of 2020, the fragments it’s made up of will ‘ tile ‘ most of a wall some 19 metres wide.

The idea comes from picking up 1000’s of pieces of pottery on his local beach in Scotland, all made with the same clay that comes out of Cornwall. Collecting fragment on the beach is a common thing to do in the UK and an activity that binds and connects us. We walk our beaches. We pick up these small pieces, remnants of whole objects all designed, patterned and illustrated in a wide variety of colours and shapes, sizes and styles. Mach wants to use these to make his installation and to extend that connection. Even small fragments combined in their hundreds and thousands will make a substantial artwork for St Austell:

We need your donations, and are appealing for ceramic memories. You can become part of a major new public art work, Earthly Delights.

David will be giving a signed limited-edition print to each of the first 100 contributions that he selects to go into the artwork. Tell us what the piece of ceramic means to you and we will publish your stories online. The best written story about a ceramic contribution selected by David will also receive an artwork made and signed by the artist.

“I’d like to you give me the pieces of broken ceramic you’ve found on the beach, the fragments, the shards, or even whole ceramics you may have kept. Something with a story to tell. I want to hear it. Why you kept it. Where you found it, who gave it to you? Is it an heirloom? Was it your parents, your mothers thimble, your dad’s ashtray, your wife’s jewellery tree. Is it just a piece of your favourite mug? I’ll collect all your stories together and set the ceramics together in a wall into one large eclectic and vibrant artwork in St Austell.

“A hand from a damaged figurine, the lettering from a salt cellar, the spout of a teapot, the handle of a cup. A small thing you haven’t let go of yet. A holiday souvenir, a wedding gift, a commemorative plate.

“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 out into the world.”

The pieces of ceramic you donate can be something the size of a postage stamp and able to fit in a regular envelope. Larger, or even whole pieces are also welcome. Please include your story with the ceramic. Be part of a historic installation – post your contributions to:


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