‘Mark of the Hand’

‘Mark of the Hand’
Trelowarren Gallery

Date of exhibition: 26 July – 6 September 2009
(Preview – 25 July 2009, 6-9pm)
Gallery opening hours – Daily 10.30am – 5.00pm
Contact Name: Linda Styles
Contact Phone Number: 01326 312069
Contact Email: linda.styles@cornwall.ac.uk
Trelowarren Gallery: 01326 221567

A disparate mix of nineteen craftsmen and women, have been invited to exhibit an eclectic and exciting array of contemporary and archive ceramics, joined by ‘makers of tomorrow’, represented by our most recent Graduates who will be showing a group exhibit selected from their final 2009 HND show. Also on display will be examples of relevant mid 20th century studio pottery (Janet Leach, William Marshall, Harry and May Davis), which have been kindly loaned by private collectors to provide a very special and fascinating showcase of historically important work.

The core research base for this project is intrinsically linked to the mid 20th Century Vocational Pottery courses held at Redruth School of Art and the inception of The Cornwall Crafts Association, based on subjective recollections, factual reference, images and examples of work and thoughts connected to the ‘studio pottery’ tradition, taking into account the transitionary backlash ‘fine art principled’ freeform ceramics and evolvement of Post modern design principles that have led us to where we stand today.

This celebratory exhibition is purposely timed to mark the closure of the long running, ever changing Higher National Diploma in Design Crafts Ceramics, which has run for twenty-seven years from 1982 – 2009

Linda Styles July 2009

“The story here is of the remarkable and highly innovative craft of ceramics, a reflection upon the rich and vivid history of specialist vocational study of ceramics in Cornwall, of students, teachers and advisors who, over the decades, have taken part in a spirited exercise which is about learning to make from clay.

Mark of the Hand is not only about an exciting collection of ceramic pieces, but also about the history, the subjective recollection, which surrounds them. On display are memoirs and archival material, which give rich context to this exhibition. An exhibition to delight makers and lovers of ceramics, but also those interested in an intriguing Cornish legacy”.

Jenny Leighton for Inside Cornwall magazine (August 2009)


Jenny Beavan
1983 -1994
BTEC in Ceramics, Higher National Diploma in Ceramics
Course Tutors – Simon Thompson, David Metcalfe, Jenny Beavan, Mike Stead, Peter Smith, Seth Cardew, Clive Guy. Visiting lecturers included David Roberts, Jim Robison, and John Maltby
I started teaching full-time at Cornwall College in 1983, on what I remember as a 2-year BTEC Ceramics course, very soon this changed to the HND Ceramic course. I remember as numbers of students opting for ceramics doubled, so did those who chose hand building, my specialism. With ‘hand-building’ making all sorts of different demands on space and storage to the established ‘throwing’ area, we moved around the campus and became a ‘satellite’ – first on the 5th floor of the Tower Block and then as numbers grew further we moved to the vast area of the student common room – which always seemed a bit of a contentious take-over! The kitchens transformed ideally into a glaze and kiln room housing a new seemingly ‘state of the art’ oval electric kiln. The HND course finally moved to Falmouth in1987 as we amalgamated with what was then Falmouth School of Art.
I particularly remember the large number of ceramic students with their individual work stations in the old student common room, working responsibly together, self-motivated and final self-directed. The student’s final shows were always lively, original, and inspiring – and very popular within the college as a whole!
I have early memories of taking a mini bus of students to collect ‘findings’ from the spoil tips of Geevor Tin Mine. This interest of discovery, exploitation and working outside was shared equally by all of us. Annual I took groups for memorable weekend stay-overs at Beach Head, near Bedruthan Steps, where the small beach with its clay deposits, became the classroom. Bags of clay and plaster were carried down at least 3/4mile. Rock impressions, material collected and inventive vessel forms were carried back to be later worked on ‘back at the ranch’ along with home cooking, fun and mind games.
In 1989 after 5 years of teaching full-time I continued as an associate part-time Lecturer until 2000 – delivering the ‘Sense of Place ‘ project and as Tutor, working latterly with BA students at Falmouth.
I have always maintained a career in my own work throughout my teaching, and as much as I enjoy teaching, I always knew one day I would be dedicating my time fully to the demands of my own work. I am a great believer in personal research, self-discovery, finding joy in ‘process’ and taking ownership of the consequences.

Andrew Bird
2008 – ongoing
HND/FdA Course technician
Andrew Bird’s sculpture FONT is an experiment with waste created during the last year by students at Cornwall College, Camborne. A land drain was used to create a mould for the initial form. Clay was press moulded and modelled to form the base. A cast of cupped hands was taken and a squeeze mould made using waste clay from this year’s HND course. The cupped hands hold rainwater collected this month in Cornwall.

Initially the piece looks like a found industrial object rather than a vessel used for purification. FONT celebrates the ritual of holding, making and discarding, the process used by ceramicists. The Ceramics Industry uses minerals and clay to create objects. Our society is wasteful of these objects. What is our personal responsibility for the use of clay?

Edward Bradley
2002 – 2008
HNC/HND Course technician
I took up the post of ceramics technician for the HNC/HND course at Cornwall College Camborne in September 2002. Linda Styles, Pete Smith and Shelley Woods were teaching the course at that time. They all had a different but equally committed approach to ceramics and this led to a very dynamic, experimental and creative atmosphere in the department. The students were expected to give at least 100% and to explore their creativity at a personal level in order to discover their own creative voice and style. Although this was quite challenging for some of the students, it did lead to the production of some fine ceramics and some fine ceramicists many of whom are still practising in Cornwall today. Over the six years I worked at the college I also had the pleasure of working with several other ceramic artist/practitioners who taught on the course. These included Jenny Beavan, Jo Forsyth, Bridget Duxbury and Julie Murdoch – George, all of whom were an inspiration to me because of their obvious love and commitment to ceramics, the development of their own work and their ability to inspire and enable the students to achieve there own vision through the medium of clay. I have been employed as a tutor/ technician at many different colleges over the years but the HNC/HND course stands out as the most exciting, dynamic and unique course I have ever been involved with and I am sure the ripples it created will be a major influence on the development of contemporary Cornish ceramics and national ceramics over the next couple of decades.

Sally Bradley (Wilcox)
1974 – 1978
Vocational Course in Studio Pottery Cornwall College
Southwest Regional Diploma’ in Studio Pottery Cornwall College
Course Tutors -David Metcalfe, Bill Marshall, and Nic Harrison
I studied studio ceramics at Camborne and Redruth College in the 70s, I remember “ceramics” being a dirty word at the time, and we were POTTERS! Ah the memories: beards and sandals, clay covered clogs, caravans (mine burnt down), and almost total Leach-worship! At Camborne I acquired essential workshop skills through focussing on functional ware, as we all did; in fact I don’t remember anyone ever making anything else. After college I carried on potting, in spite of Bill Marshall having told me everything I made was shite, bless him. Though I no longer make tableware, those functional forms are still with me: bottle, bowl, beaker, though their function is now aesthetic, meditative and sculptural.
I have been teaching pottery since 1986, and have been able to hand on the skills and workshop knowledge gained at Camborne. I did my degree, finally, in 2006 at Bradford Art College, where I achieved 1st class Honours in Art and Design. I exhibit regularly in local galleries and am a member of the Society of Designer Craftsmen.

Gilly Bonsall
HND Graduate
A course designed to extract from you as much as you are willing to give, to challenge you on every level from design and intent to production and outcome, always to encourage you to go that one step further, to think more broadly and delve more deeply, to make what is truly meaningful, whatever that meaning may be and with so much knowledge and expertise just there for the asking.
The warmth and support of companionship, and the pleasure of learning from the experiences of your peers.
Exciting, exhausting, uplifting, frustrating and of course, ultimately rewarding.

With sincere acknowledgement to tutor Linda Styles for not giving up on us all and to technicians Eddy Bradley and Andrew Bird for their unfailing willingness.”

Jill Bray
2006- 2008
Higher National Diploma 3D Craft Skills (Ceramics)
Tutors – Linda Styles, Jo Forsyth, Julie Murdock-George, Sue Nunn (contextual), Edward Bradley, Bridget Duxbury, Wendy Wilbraham and Andrew Bird.
The Fine Art Ceramics course at Cornwall College provided me with both insightful, inspirational teaching and the opportunity to develop my own work away from the Hurley burley of everyday life. The studios were a haven, in which one shared and exchanged ideas with fellow students and greedily absorbed expertise and technical help from the tutors and technicians, all of whom were artist practitioners. It was the work of Linda Styles, the course leader at the time, that took me onto the course; for me it was the visual equivalent of poetry and jazz, interpreted in my favourite medium of clay – I had never seen colour used so bravely and yet with such sensitivity. As I started the course I was nearing the end of a career as an art teacher, during which I had usually managed to work in schools with a ceramics department. I had constantly experimented with different techniques but teaching and a large family had never provided the headspace really to pursue my own areas of interest and my qualification had been in art and design rather than straight ceramics. To be able to concentrate on ‘the fired form’ within the supportive environment created by the tutors was a privilege and was the start of what, despite my love of teaching, I had been waiting for during more years than I care to remember! What I have taken from the course has enriched my life and started me on a new venture that combines dreams from the past with ongoing observations, responses and excitement.

Sandy Brown
Higher National Diploma 3D Craft Skills (Ceramics), BA (Hons) Studio Ceramics, FdA Contemporary Ceramics Practice
1994 – Ongoing
Visiting Lecturer/ External Subject Specialist.
Sandy has provided much effervescent influence on contemporary ceramics practice over the years, spontaneity and vigour ever present in her teaching, making and life practice and continues to be involved in the newly validated FdA in Contemporary Ceramics Practice that will run from next September at Cornwall College, Pool.

Bea Duxbury
1997 – 1998
Higher national Certificate in Ceramics
Tutors – Wendy Wilbraham, Bea Duxbury, Peter Smith, Linda Styles (PGCE)
2005 – 2006
Higher National Diploma 3D Craft Skills (Ceramics)
Jo Forsyth, Linda Styles, Julie Murdoch-George, Bea Duxbury
2009 – ongoing
FdA Contemporary Ceramic Practice
Tutors – Wendy Wilbraham, Linda Styles, Bea Duxbury, Julie Murdock-George.
To me living is creativity and life is a journey and a story. Ceramics and all my other creative work are part of my story and weave in and out of my life. Story telling and mythology are something I feel are fundamental to our existence and certainly play a large part in mine.

Nic Harrison
1975 – 1978
Vocational Course in Studio Pottery Cornwall College
Southwest Regional Diploma’ in Studio Pottery Cornwall College
Course Tutors -David Metcalfe, Bill Marshall, and Nic Harrison.
Technicians Jane Beecroft, John Hershall
My four-year course was very full and rewarding. I have many good memories especially of Bill Marshall answering questions and throwing pots. Bill was inspiring; he alone altered my way of thinking, approach to pottery and work ethics. Being a mature student I was probably more influential than I remember being at the time. I was asked to help a fourth year student (Judith Smout) in her placement whilst I was still in my first year, at Wheal Martyn Museum in St Austell. I instigated a Kick Wheel building course and Kiln Building with different departments within the college. At my final year show I remember being asked if I would like to work as part of the production team at The Leach Pottery by Janet Leach, an honour I accepted. For thirty years I have continued to work in ‘The Leach Tradition’.

Barbara Hill
1962 -1969
Redruth School of Art Classes with Denis Mitchell
As well as mixed attendance 1963-1966 for classes in sculpture, weaving, plant and figure drawing
1966-1969: Vocational Course in Ceramics for Studio Potters
Leading to the College Diploma prior to award of the Regional Diploma
Tutors: Roger Veal, Denis Mitchell, Janet, Bernard, and David Leach, Mary Rich.
1975-1977 Camborne Technology College Certificate of Education
2003-2008 University College Falmouth
P/T BA Hons. Contemporary Crafts
Redruth Art School was small, thriving, ably run by Marjorie Hall RCA in 1962 when I enrolled for an afternoon sculpture class a week, taught by Denis Mitchell. I was one of the first intake students enrolling for the three-year full-time Vocational Pottery Course graduating in 1969. This comprehensive course enabled us to become self-sufficient potters. Roger Veal, our tutor, had converted the old smelting furnace left by Redruth School of Mines into a large efficient gas reduction-firing kiln. Mary Rich assisted in pot-throwing techniques. Janet Leach, Course Advisor, often arrived with Bernard Leach and sometimes David Leach, giving us positive criticism, making us welcome also at Leach Pottery. Taught also by Denis Mitchell, we had instruction from four giants of the 20th Century Art/Craft movement. Bernard Leach, truly the father of our English pottery movement, although elderly and nearly blind, could instil the ethics and form involved in making pots, both thrown and hand-built. He clarified the fundamental honesty that can be apparent in pot making transferred from the potters’ hands and the design potential consequent upon studied and familiar clay forming. The course became upgraded to Regional Diploma status, a fourth year becoming available short-term. William Marshall demonstrated relative throwing potentials of differing clay bodies and David Metcalf RCA became Head of Department. I taught there, mostly part-time, from 1970 until the 1980 closure, covering a wide range of pottery-related subjects and taking the In-Service training for the Certificate of Education, later teaching at Camborne and Truro. I have been a craftswoman for nearly 50 years.
Redruth was a happy place to work in.

Ela Miller
HND Graduate
Tutors – Linda Styles, Wendy Wilbraham, Eddy Bradley, Andrew Bird, Davina Kirkpatrick, Julie Murdoch-George, Bea Duxbury, Jo Forsyth.
As I near completion of the HND course I feel incredibly lucky to have been involved in this way of learning. It provided safe bedrock for me to start to believe that I could move forward in the ceramic world. The place, although somewhat lacking in facilities had become a place of sharing, laughing, crying, risk taking and many special moments shared in the tearoom.
I have learnt so much but am aware that I have started a lifetime (what there is left of it), of learning.
Our small group has become like a family and we will continue to work and learn together, I hope for many years to come. I am so glad that I took the scary step of joining the course.

Julie Murdoch-George
2001- 2003
Higher National Diploma 3D Craft Skills (Ceramics)
Tutors – Linda Styles, Pete Smith, Jo Forsythe, Eddy Bradbury, Davina Kirkpatrick
2005 – PGCE Ceramic’ department placement
Tutors – Linda Styles, Joanna Forsyth, Bridget Duxbury
2006 – 2008 HND Ceramics – Tutor
I decided in 2001 to return to College after bringing up my family and ceramics seem to be the best choice for me as I loved working with clay and had spent many years going to evening classes. I fondly look back at this time, making new friends and learning new techniques, also having inspirational tutors. I did not realize how this would change my life.
After attaining my degree in Studio Ceramics at Falmouth, I went on to do PGCE at Cornwall College and I was fortunate to take up the position of First Year Tutor for HND Studio Ceramics in 2006 until June 2008. This was a very fulfilling time from being a student to becoming a teacher; I felt I had a very good rapport with the students, as I knew exactly what it was like for many mature students returning to education.

Stephanie Pace
2002 – 2004
HND Ceramics, Cornwall College
Tutor: Linda Styles, Technician: Eddy Bradley
The HND course revolutionised my way of working with clay by giving me an insight into a more contemporary approach. Eddy’s technical knowledge combined with Linda’s artists slant on ceramics enabled me to understand and find new ways to develop. I have very fond memories of messy experimentation involving paper clay, overflowing plaster and slip casts and many a happy morning masked and gloved up in the glaze room! The course has been invaluable to my work, and me, which could never have been complete without it.

Mary Rich
Redruth School of Art – Part-time teaching
Tutors Roger Veal, Tommy Rowe.
I was very happy to teach at Redruth as there were some terrific students
there at the time, many of who went on to start their own studios. I felt
that I was continuing a family tradition because my Grandmother, Josephine Sara of Redruth had apparently been a student there before she got married (in 1899), but sadly I do not have any further information. My mother, Peggy Harvey from Helston was also a student there in the late 1930’s. Unfortunately the work she did has been lost, but I remember seeing textile designs very much of the ‘Art Deco’ style which were similar to the ‘Crysede’ fabrics which were produced in St.Ives around that period.

Rebecca Sims
HND Graduate
I first started the Ceramics HND at Falmouth School of Art and Design in 1990. I never completed the course for reasons too long ago to remember. But seventeen years later I returned to the HND, this time at Cornwall College.
The HND gave me the time and space to experiment with ideas and ceramic processes, alongside students, tutors and technicians passionate and committed to the subject. The friendships forged in the sanctuary of the tearoom and Linda Styles’ intuitive method of teaching made the course invaluable.

Frances Spice
2006- 2008
HND 3D Craft Skills (Ceramics)
I studied HND in Ceramics from 2006-2008, my tutor was Linda Styles. I joined the course because the ceramic work I was making was dated and I didn’t have the knowledge to move forward. I was terrified of the technical side of ceramics. By doing the course I gained the information I needed, my confidence improved and my work changed in a completely new and exciting direction.
It wasn’t just a course about clay, on a personal level it was like a counselling course as well, a place where you could seek advice and confide in others, there were plenty of ups and downs, tears and laughter, all of which have shaped me into the person I am today. I have met some wonderful people, life long friends.
I am now making slab built teapots, vessels, jugs and plates, I have work in several galleries and I have joined a group of 11 other artists and together we have opened our own gallery. Completing the HND has been one of the best things I have done and I will never forget my time in the ceramics department at Cornwall College.

Linda Styles
1992 – 1996 – Student HND Ceramics/BA(hons) Studio Ceramics at Falmouth College of Art and Design, 1997 -PGCE placement, HNC Ceramics, Cornwall College. 1999 – 2009 – 1st year Tutor/Course Manager/2nd year Tutor HND 3D Design Craft Skills, Cornwall College.
This idea for this exhibition germinated nearly two years ago when it became definite that the HND would not carry on beyond 2009. I recognise the desire to move with the times but felt that I would like to mark the HND’s passing. My own history as a maker has been intrinsically linked and woven into this special course since 1992; having known it first as a student at Falmouth College of Art, then in 1999 as teacher in training. I went on to spend ten years of employment in ‘the department’ . I have loved it and loathed it and learnt so much from it. I am so sad to see it close, which is why ‘Mark of the Hand’ is happening…I hope that you enjoy the show in tactile, visual, nostalgic and optimistic terms!

Jan Thomas
My fledgling career in ceramics would not have begun without the HDD course. It has been a privilege to explore the alchemical properties of clay with the calibre of tutors we’ve had. Having come to the end, I’m surprised to feel such grief at leaving the disgusting environs of the tearoom, but most of all the friendships formed which have sustained me over the past 2 years. For me the course was about moving into a new world, and opening up a whole new learning curve. Best of all perhaps were the people I met along the way.

Sue Thompson
1979 – 1983
Southwest Regional Diploma’ in Studio Pottery Cornwall College
Course Tutors – David Metcalf, Bill Marshall, Mike Stead and Clive Guy
I started the studio ceramics course. Tutors at the time were. Did three-year course and got credit for that so was able to do a further year to get licentiate membership of The Society of Industrial Artists and Designers and the Society of Designer Craftsmen. Henry Hammond was external assessor for this and gave me the best compliment I ever had in my life he said, “Sue has innate good taste”. I think of that on my ‘down days’ and feel better about the world. Funny how someone can have such an influence on one so young eh?

Simon Walmsley
We are the final class.
Though we were all strangers to each other in the beginning, we soon became friends and now I consider them as family.
I feel honoured to have taken part in something so spectacular as the HND Ceramics.

Diane Winterman
2002 – 2004
Higher National Diploma 3D Craft Skills (Ceramics)
Course tutors – Linda Styles, Pete Smith, Sue Nunn
Assistants and Student Teachers: Shelley Woods, Lisa Stewart
Technician: Eddie Bradley
Cornwall College ceramics studio. Ah, what can I say? A grim, leaky, modern block with a vicious wind that blew right around it all year. Also, the place that really moved me on in my thought and process. I had come from Adult Education classes, a great introduction to traditional techniques, but eventually I wondered what else there was, something just a bit less…brown.

Enter the college cast. Linda Styles who, with a swoosh of jewellery and scarves, served up delicious ideas of ready-mades, moulds, mixed media, plastic colours. Pete whose heavy grogging bordered on the obsessed but who spelt out the valuable lesson – do anything but don’t do twee. And loosen up for Gods sake. Lastly, but by no means least, the ever patient and practical Eddie, always willing to think about how to actually get that half-baked idea of yours fully-baked and out of the kiln. And porcelain, lovely porcelain.

Thanks guys.

Publicity Text for Ceramics HNC/D updated in 2005

Who is this course for?
The course is for those who wish to follow a specialised higher-level programme in Ceramics and who either wish to start a career in a related area or maybe just wish to formalise their existing skills and interests in the area.

Entry Requirements
Prospective students need not have prior knowledge of ceramics to apply. It is however advisable to have completed one of the following: A Foundation course in Art & Design, a general Art & Design course, a GNVQ Advanced or National Diploma in Art and Design. Mature students without any of the above but with relevant experience are most welcome to apply. You will need to bring to interview a portfolio of artwork, sketchbooks and a selection of any pieces of ceramic work that you may have produced.

What will I do on the course?
The programme covers a wide range of ceramic processes and related areas. The intention is to develop a wide and creative educational experience in studio ceramics. A progressive series of projects develops student’s individual talents within a structured framework. The common core and supporting studies run parallel to the students’ own initiated response to studio-based projects. It is intended that the programme will encourage a personal approach, which will be relevant to individual vocational aspirations.

Students will study the following course content:

Visual Studies – Students will explore visual ideas through a variety of media including drawing, painting, printmaking and photography. All production work is underpinned by visual research and drawing.
Contextual Studies – this will be an integral part of the learning process, research, slides, journalistic input, visits by designers and makers will be used to encourage students to look spontaneously at all forms of historical and contemporary art, craft and design.
Technical Studies – students will be encouraged to experiment with materials, techniques and processes. The programme includes investigation into technical developments, firing strategies, glaze technology and applications.
Production Studies – is a common core subject concerned with basic studio practice, wheelwork, hand forming, and mould making.
Professional Studies – includes time management, organisational skills and marketing. Student studies will include involvement with assignments for outside bodies working either individually or as part of a team

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education
Academic review: subject review
MAY 2005

Academic review of UK higher education This is most notably the case in HNC/D 3D Design Crafts, in which staff have designed assignments that effectively synthesise academic and intellectual skills to facilitate their parallel development.
Within the HNC/D 3D Design Crafts programme, there is an example of outstandingly good practice of assessment design, requiring students to address both the design (aesthetic and technical issues) and the dissemination of their work (professional practice issues) within an integrated and challenging single task. All aspects of the work can be, and are, executed to a high standard in an entirely holistic way. This approach reflects the aims and concerns of the programme, and the resulting student work clearly demonstrates the success of this strategy
• A range of assessment methods is used, which are appropriate, rigorous and of the right academic level and in HNC/D 3D Design Crafts in particular, assignment design is particularly innovative (paragraphs 20; 22; 23)
In the case of HND Fine Art Textiles, HNC/D 3D Design Crafts and HNC Media, there is an impressive breadth to the interpretation of the curricula, offering a rich student experience.
The quality of teaching and learning in HNC/D 3D Design Crafts, HND Fine Art Textiles and HNC Media is commendable.
• A range of assessment methods is used, which are appropriate, rigorous and of the right academic level and, in HND/C 3D Design Crafts in particular, assignment design that is particularly innovative (paragraphs 20, 22, 23)
• The quality of teaching and learning in HND/C 3D Design Crafts, HND Fine Art Textiles and HNC Media is commendable:

Souvenir/Memorabilia – Example of outstandingly good practice of assessment design
HNC/D Ceramics
Year 2 Stage 2
Souvenir / Memorabilia CD3

This unit concentrates on the production ‘run’ of a specific design object that is capable of invoking a sense of nostalgia and commemoration of a chosen place, event, (right of passage such as birth, death, initiation, coming of age etc.) memory – real or imaginary, a nostalgic objet luxe that epitomises your chosen subject – tangible or intangible. The final objects should be capable of being ‘read’ by the viewer. They should therefore, aim to possess some characteristics that lift them away from the personal in order to help capture the essence of a more universal message. You will be expected to be aware of how process and materials can be used to express less tangible concepts, such as romanticism in ceramic form interpreted via the mass-produced souvenir object.

You are asked to consider carefully and then use appropriate methods in order to enable mass production of your chosen form. Mould making/slip casting is especially relevant within the tradition of low end of the market industrial produced artifacts for the masses. I would therefore advise and encourage that you to try this method of making. and to also research the concept and history of mass production techniques. There will be a series of mould making and slip casting workshops, inclusive of multiple part, dropout, hump, tile, semi-relief moulds, how to cast, trim and fettle.
Generation of a diverse range of ideas and concepts should be attempted before the making process begins. Individual tutorials will be scheduled towards the beginning of this assignment to help solve possible production problems. Historical and contemporary reference should also be made to other artists/designers. Traditional and non-traditional methods will also be subjectively and objectively referenced. This preparation and research will be supported by formal/informal workshops, linked contextual research programme, demonstrations, critiques (Peer, self, tutor led), free debate and tutorials.

Investigate the range of objects in this category, functional, non-functional materials, aesthetic. The role of this type of object in the market place, home, high art / low art. Communicate research via drawing and other appropriate visual/written techniques. From your understanding of the souvenir, produce designs via drawing or other visual strategies, choose appropriate materials and mass manufacturing techniques. Consider aesthetics and question their relevance within this project. Pay specific attention to high/low art issues and debate. Show evidence that you have accessed journals/articles concerning this area. Finished objects to be justified by written / visual techniques, showing how chosen objects relate to the souvenir tradition. Your objects should be fully processed, priced and complete. We will be looking for evidence of project organisation. A short presentation of your ‘product’ will also be necessary to perform. This will help improve your confidence and to achieve an understanding of what is involved in commissioned work. It will also be necessary to relate personal aesthetic ideas to a commercial outcome.

Example of minimum requirement
2 gestural A1 worksheets, 2 sustained effort A1 design sheets, Sketchbook evidence of ideas formulation, ongoing reflective journal containing textual narrative, 3D Marquette’s (multi media) and a multiple production final costed and viable outcome.

1. Use publications and shops/galleries to research souvenir.
Research souvenirs via publications, internet, shops, galleries, collections.
Understand role and form.
Identify common characteristics, differentiate between the ‘ordinary’ souvenir and the more poetic object.
Present results in a logical way.

2. Design and manufacture souvenir.
Using research evaluation design own objects using suitable visual techniques.
Define aesthetic relationships, justify those relationships in high/low art terms or other appropriate aesthetic areas.

3. Investigate commemoration of subject.
Souvenir/memorabilia subject justified via written/visual presentation.
Show how own object relates to the memorabilia tradition.
Manufacture in selected materials and appropriate methods.

4. Show organisation, relate to commission.
Use the project to establish the methodologies relevant to the receipt of a commission.
Relate personal aesthetic to commercial outcome.
Organise, plan and price project.

Common Skills
Communication x
Applying Numeracy x
Applying Technology x
Working with and relating to others x
Managing and developing self x
Managing tasks and solving problems x
Applying design and creativity x

The series of lectures below were specifically designed to align and link in with student’s studio practice.


Contextual Studies
This unit will introduce students to the wider cultural, social, political, historical and economic forces that impact on the production and reception of art and media. Through a dedicated programme of lectures and seminars the contextual studies programme integrates theory with the practical units of courses in a highly relevant and dynamic way.

Intellectual and Practical Learning Outcomes
Students will demonstrate:
• a basic understanding of the connections between text and context;
• an understanding of the relationship between theory and practice;
• an introductory awareness of the intellectual paradigms and conceptual frameworks appropriate to the study of art and media;
• a basic understanding of the historical evolution of art and media forms and ‘genres’;
• an ability to critically evaluate a range of theoretical writings;
Students will:
• work productively, independently and as a group;
• develop skills in listening, contributing and reflecting in group discussions;
• gather, organise and present ideas and information in a clear form;
• develop skills for independent research using historical and contextual referencing;
• Demonstrate an understanding of influences that have informed current cultural and creative attitudes;

Transferable Skills
Students will:
• communicate accurately in a developing a range of academic forms and contexts;
• demonstrate accurate and structured writing and presentation skills;
• demonstrate confidence in their approach to their studies;
• reflect critically on their learning and identify future learning needs and choices;

Learning and Teaching Methods
• Weekly main lectures supported by PowerPoint and audio-visual aids;
• Weekly seminars relating specialist subject area to the broader themes of the lecture through discussion groups, group work, practical projects and presentations;
• Independent learning;
• Tutorial
• Readings and handouts.

Assignments, Assessment Criteria
1,500 word essay.

LECTURER: Dr. Suzanne Nunn

The aim of this series of lectures is to challenge perceptions, to engage with the bigger picture and provide you with a range of analytical/critical tools with which to evaluate your own work and that of others. During these lectures you will be introduced to basic Marxist, semiotic, psychoanalytic and feminist methodologies used by cultural historians. You will be encouraged to think about the ways in which these theoretical paradigms can help towards the understanding and appreciation of creative output.

This first lecture will act as an introductory session to contextual studies, in which we will discuss the importance of appreciating the historical and cultural context in which work is produced. We will discuss the use of visual methodologies and theoretical paradigms appropriate for the interpretation of artefacts and texts.
In the seminar we will discuss the management of collected material for a contextual studies portfolio, and how these materials can be used to develop ideas. We will discuss ways in which to think about / reflect on the issues raised during the lecture series and how contextual studies can contribute to studio work.

The lecture focuses on architecture and we will examine the ways in which a complex interrelation of social, cultural and economic forces impact on the design and construction of buildings. We will compare and contrast popular representations of the modern and post-modern city through Fritz Lang’s film Metropolis and Scott Ridley’s Blade Runner.
In the seminar we will discuss the schematic differences between modernism and postmodernism and introduce the concepts of parody, pastiche, signs and intertextuality that will be discussed in detail later in the lecture series.

This lecture relates to your first assignment. We will build on the previous session by discussing the impact of cultural change on artists’s representations of themselves. Specifically we will explore the issues of gender surrounding self-portraits and the cultural construction of the artist as genius. We will examine a variety of works in different mediums by artists from the Renaissance to the present and discuss how these works were products of their time. We will discuss the particular psychoanalytical issues raised by self-portraits through the Lacanian concept of the mirror.
The seminar will be a group discussion on the issues raised by the lecture. Working in small groups you will be asked to assess the message presented to the viewer by a particular self-portrait and discuss the ways in which meaning is constructed. Medium, scale, colour, accessories, style and technique will all have been deliberate choices made by the artist; they will therefore have made a similar set of decisions to those you will need to make when working through your own project.

Intertextuality is one of the key aspects of postmodernism. It refers to the reference in one text to another previous text. In the lecture we will examine how intertextuality is used by contemporary artists, architects and designers. We will discuss the related concepts of parody and pastiche and explore how within postmodernism the boundaries between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture are broken down. We will also begin to examine semiotics and the function of the sign in post-modern culture.
The seminar will be practice based. Working with materials you have collected over the previous week you will create a surface pattern suitable for a large tile. Possible sources include text, diagrams, fine art, textiles, medals and packaging. Working back from your design you will have approximately five minuets to explain to the group how the elements of the design work separately and in combination, in what way does the meaning change through juxtaposition, what of the original context remains and what does it bring to the new work.


In preparation for project two and the essay we will be looking at the art of Japan. We will discuss the influence of Shinto and Buddhism on traditional Japanese design. We will examine the influence of Japan on the West, Art Nouveau in France, Frank Lloyd Wright in the USA and British design in the late 1900s. There will be a short film on the Tea Ceremony.
In the seminar we will discuss the issues raised in the lecture and assess the success of Western interpretations of traditional Japanese design.

This lecture will outline the history of tea drinking in Britain from aristocratic exclusivity in the 18th century to national beverage. We will look at issues of class surrounding tea drinking in Britain through film clips and advertisements, and examine the material culture of tea in terms of caddies, pots, cups and saucers. We will discuss tea drinking both in terms of cultural aesthetic and the associations between morality and tea through 19th century temperance movements.
The seminar will be a discussion on the contrasts between Eastern and Western tea rituals. Students will bring their own favourite cup or teapot and explain to the group its personal significance.
Tea will be served.

In the lecture we will examine design, designers and the literature of design by focusing on a series of questions including What is the difference between art and craft? What is design? How does an artefact become a design icon? We will discuss the roles of institutions in perpetuating hierarchies and asking who writes the histories?
In the seminar we will discuss reading academic texts.

The lecture will examine the impact of colonial discourses on Western arts and the effects of multiculturalism. We will examine the art v. craft debate with regard to ethnicity, and assess the crisis, or not, of cultural identity and the reclamation of the self through post-colonialism. We will look at the co modification of artwork from ‘minority’ cultures and issues of authenticity and market forces. We will discuss the ways in which the ‘other’, initially separated, has become incorporated.
For the seminar you will bring examples of ceramics inspired by other cultures, that you feel epitomise the best, or the worst, of the impact of multiculturalism and co modification. For example, Mughal stepping stones available in Past Times (the internet is an excellent source for this research). We will discuss whether we feel that multiculturalism results in the dilution of authentic culture or creates a new and dynamic hybridity.

To coincide with life drawing this lecture will examine the nude in Western art, from the classical female nude to the homoerotic photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe. What is the distinction between nude and naked? What is the power dynamic involved in representing the naked body? What is the distinction between pornography and art? We will discuss the Freudian concept of scopophilia – the pleasure of liking – voyeurism, fetishism and the gaze.
I anticipate a lively discussion in the seminar on the issues raised by the lecture. You might like to consider how what we have learned could impact on your work in terms of ethical and aesthetic criteria.

This lecture will discuss writing a comparative essay, referencing, presentation, research strategies, structure, language and writing.
The seminar will take the form of individual tutorials.

This lecture links with the body adornment project. It will be partly a revision session for the work we did last term, as we will be discussing intertextuality, parody and pastiche. We will be examining subcultures primarily through semiotic analysis and the Marxist concepts of hegemony and alienation in order to discuss the political implications of style, fashion and appropriation.
In the seminar we will discuss the work of the fashion designer Vivienne Westwood.

A few of the many HND Ceramics Students that have studied at Cornwall College since I have been in the Department…

Jan Thomas, Pam Tongue, Rebecca Sims, Simon Warmsley, Gilly Bonsall,
Rebekah Brunelle, Allison Hughes, Sylvia Pattison, Maria Price,
Samantha Charlesworth, Linda Kierdorff, Jill Bray, Angie Richardson, Janet Hale, John Watson, Diana Copperwheat, Isabella Allen, Julie Escott-Skinner,
Timothy Lewis, Mo OBrien, Thomas Newlands, Caroline Southgate,
Catherine Steadman, Rex Wallis, Sara Watkin, Susan Williams, Marc Craig,
Rita Glover, Bill Glover, Barney Grey, Kate Grey, Elizabeth Holt, Hazel Vicary
Leo Halliwell, Kerry Anne Humphrey, Jenny Jefferson, Cyrus Green
Barbara Ann Larner, Katie Orme, Jennifer Roff, Claire Connell, Layla Cornfield
Marion Pellor, Julie Murdoch-George, Phil Evans, Dee Fisher, Jay Keetch, Viv Olliff
Stephanie Pace, Marion Pellor, Diane Winterman, Nicola Westgate, John Palmer
Susie Ward, Kim Colquhoun, Marie Butcher, Remon Jephcott, Kerry Humphrey, Katie Orme, Hayley Alice Sanford, Daphne von Achten, Helen Glover
Helen James, Deberah Gouge, Jenny Potts, Rose Gibbon, Helen Banks, Jax Woolerton, Patricia Von Aichen

Archive background information
Vivien Prideaux
Believe it or not I enjoyed a most happy year (1967 to 1968), “Going down Tech” as it was known then. I had been a boarder at Tremough Convent where I had taken my ‘O’ Levels and the Parents and Nuns had decided that I do “A” Levels at Tremough.
I had talked to a Lady called Winfred Evans about doing Pottery (she had taught textiles at Clinton Road) who suggested to contacted Miss Hall the then Principal of Redruth Art School.

This I did and enrolled at “Tech” to do Geography, Maths and Pottery “A” level and sort of persuaded Parents * that living at home in Truro and travelling by train to Redruth daily was what I wanted to do thus saying good bye to the Convent my home of seven years! It was a compromise as I was the first member of my family that had wanted to go on to higher Education.

I can’t be sure but I think it was Wednesdays that I attended the pottery class down in the basement at the back of the building and Friday Life drawing was compulsory in a big north lit room at the top of the stairs. The excitement of opening one of the double front doors off the street, the wooden floors, that smell of creativity, paint, paper, wishing that I could be a full time student there. Roger Veal (Feelie Vealie was his nick name) was head of department, and a good teacher. His family were/are fishermen in Newlyn. Barbara Hill, now in her 70’s was a full time student then.

What I do remember is that there was a huge gas kiln that we as students were allowed to fire and that we would “camp” over night during a reduction firing. Getting chips from the chippy by the bus stop in Alma Place and singing folk songs whilst watching the temperature rise. Can you imagine that happening to day? Even when I subsequently was training to become a teacher we were never give the freedom of responsibility that we were afforded at Clinton Road.

Bernard Leech was our assessor and visited on occasions. Seem to remember him as a funny little old man until years later meeting him again realising just what he had contributed to ceramics but at 17 the wisdom of the man when over my head!

1967-68 was a brilliant year! I failed Geography, missed one of my Maths papers because I passed my driving test and went to the surf championships at Porthtowan, and so failed that too! My “A” Level, B grade Pottery along with my 8 “O” Levels got me into Christchurch College, Canterbury (London University Education College) where I studied ceramics for 3 years and graduated as a teacher.

Win Evans was the Head of Textiles at Canterbury then and although she tried with out success to get me to change to Textiles, when she retired back to Cornwall in 1980 she taught me all she knew about dyeing and that was the beginning of something totally different. It was through Win that I kept in touch with Miss Hall in St Day. I did return once to Clinton Road before it shut, Miss Hall had gone and (I can’t remember for the life of me their names but both when on the be vice principals of Falmouth … Patrick McCombe and ?). New brooms were changing the way things were. Perhaps that was the beginning of education becoming a business rather than a vocation!

*Parents were adamant that I would not go to Art School and become an art student because ‘Hippies” like Donovan were taking drugs and writing protest songs on the “Wall” in St Ives. The “Wall” was demolished by Penwith Council to discourage others following in Donovan’s foot steps!) In those days, the late 60’s my parent’s wishes came first thus I finally went to Canterbury.

Thank you jogging the old memory and making me smile in remembering … Seems like yesterday ha ha! A time of innocence and wide-eyed thirst for knowledge of every kind!

Barbara Hill
My early memories of Redruth Art School.
When our youngest daughter started school I asked about sculpture classes at the Truro Library and was sent upstairs along the passage to enrol for the three-hour class. This must have been in 1962.
I duly went to Redruth Art School, originally Redruth School of Mines. Margery Hall (RCA) was in charge there, being secretary and art teacher as well. Denis Mitchell, an artist by training, was the sculpture teacher and his Thursday afternoon classes became a joy.
Denis, commended to Barbara Hepworth by Bernard Leach, had been one of two men who worked with her doing her heavy sculptural work. After ten years Denis left to set up as a sculptor in his own right. He was an inspired and inspiring craftsman and teacher, working in bronze, aluminium, stone and wood. He taught me how to see, has been the primary and ongoing inspiration in my love of craft.
Most of our sculptural work was made from seasoned wood supplies kept by Denis in an old shed outside. The workroom, later the main pottery room, had a wonderful blond wood block floor, cleaned by brushing with damp tealeaves and a wide broom. At break-times the lady from the corner shop, across the road from the adjoining library, would make the rounds with a tray of juices, biscuits and chocolate. At that time central heating was rare; this large old Redruth School of Mines workroom adjoining the smelting furnace (later to be the basis for a large and efficient hand-built ceramic gas kiln) contained extremely functional night-store heaters. We were warm, comfortable, working in a fine ambience. Like most art schools of that period it was old fashioned and dated. As new craft machinery was later needed for greater numbers of students, this was added as and when possible, Students had a great affection for these old craft rooms, shabby and homely as they were.
The atmosphere at Redruth Art School was an all-pervading one: cheerful application, inspiration, encouragement, fulfilment and enthusiasm. The arts and crafts in the earlier years took place there in tandem with full-timers and part-timers all in the same classes of mixed age groups. Students studying book illustration, record cover design; fashion, lithography etc. were very well grounded before going on to some of the best art schools upcountry.
Janet, Bernard and David Leach were advisers for the early three and four-year ceramic courses, together with Denis Mitchell teaching 3D Design and sculpture. Early Redruth School of Art vocational pottery students were supremely lucky to be taught and influenced by four of the finest craftsmen of the 20th Century.

The early years of the Redruth School of Art Ceramics Department and the CCA, those years placed within a framework of memories and developments.
Just over forty years ago, the large smelting furnace in the basement of the Redruth School of Mines was rebuilt into a good-sized gas-fired pottery kiln by Roger Veale, a Newlyn boy who trained in Studio Pottery in the USA. Under Roger’s tuition, a three-year full-time vocational pottery course was started up, so efficient that some of those first students are still successful potters, approaching retirement age. The main vocational pottery courses at that time were at Harrow and the Leach Pottery at St. Ives. Redruth School of Art, part of Cornwall Technical College, was most ably run by Margery Hall, trained at the RCA (Royal College of Art). She still lives at St. Day, now aged 97. Students from Redruth went on to some of the best Art Schools in the country to continue their studies. Full-time students and part-time recreational adult students studied together under some highly- regarded teachers, one of whom was Denis Mitchell, an inspiring man who taught sculpture part-time. Denis Mitchell, with Bernard Leach and others, was instrumental in starting up both the Penwith Gallery in St. Ives and the Newlyn Gallery, opening their doors not only to Fine Art but to craft work also, fairly innovative at that time.

To be a student at that time was to be part of an exciting flowering of the crafts, a time of great change, opportunity and development.

We early intake students of the Vocational Pottery Course were taught part-time by four of the foremost artist-craftsmen of the 20th century, one of who was Denis Mitchell. Janet Leach was the Advisor for the pottery course at Redruth and invariably Bernard, nearly blind, would accompany her, often with his son, David. Bernard always retained his great interest in all aspects of life and we, the students, were taken under the Leach wing, encouraged and asked to their pottery and their exhibitions. Bernard always maintained that when you could master clay-formative techniques, particularly on the wheel, think deeply of functional requirements, feel and form clay in three dimensions, then you were on your way to being a designer. Sometimes David Leach would visit alone, gentle, encouraging and full of wisdom. As a result of his industrial training, we used his admirable porcelain body, made to his recipe and marketed by a ceramic supplier, while Mary Rich, with her great ceramic skills, both with stoneware and porcelain, gave us part-time tuition in wheel work.
Repeat, well-designed wheel-thrown pottery was very desirable and at one time there were more potters in Devon and Cornwall than anywhere else in the country (Rural Industries Bureau statistics).
Lake’s Pottery used to be in Truro, the last surviving old-style pottery in the country whose wares were particularly popular in the USA. They made their own red earthenware throwing body to their own recipe. Their very skilled thrower could make items at 50 or 60 per hour in some instances. These were fired in the old beehive kiln at one time, using gorse as fuel. When the Redruth class needed earthenware clay, Lake’s was where we collected it. Son Peter Lake went to Redruth School Pottery to do his Pottery A. level, B schedule, which meant the major time was spent pot-making while figure drawing was the other combined subject done under the tuition of Miss Hall. He then pursued an Industrial ceramic training. Lake’s was where Bernard Leach went for tuition in pulling clay handles, as these were unknown in Japan when Bernard Leach was there in his young years.

Doble’s Clays, still a very well-known family firm, was refining their clay bodies and Mrs. Doble senior used to wheel-throw, fire and test these bodies in an electric kiln, while Janet Leach used to design glazes for her, one I particularly remember was a soft pale apple green. During the summer holidays, a Redruth pottery student was employed at St. Martyn’s Clay Museum for the tourist visitors to see how pots were thrown at the wheel; pots of clay comprising some of the clay ingredients perhaps mined in that area. There was increasing awareness of safety issues involved in atmospheric pollution and in the handling of ceramic materials, particularly where schools were concerned, as clay was used as a learning tool then.

David Metcalf, also RCA, became head of the Ceramic Department, still based at Redruth headed by Patrick McCoombe. Later, a new Art block was built at the Technical College where David Metcalf designed his Pottery Department to his specifications. In time, much of the Art department moved from Redruth to Camborne.

The government was initiating and upgrading educational training and opportunity across the country, existing and new educational establishments were being improved and built. I was told that Camborne Technical College, then a FE (Further Education) establishment, was in line to be the tenth and last named to achieve university (Higher Education) status. At that time new universities were called Polytechnics, then Red Brick Universities. This did not come to pass for Camborne when the Labour party lost to the Conservative in the General Election. Over the years, criteria required for university status have changed and evolved. People could train, retrain, and attend adult recreational classes where enrolment fees were low in those days; the man and woman in the street particularly enjoyed craft courses and not so many women worked outside the home. Media coverage increased, craft books and magazines became available; Ceramic Review and Crafts Magazine, to name just two, have gone from strength to strength. Cornish people, being scattered out on a limb so to speak, were avid for news of craft events. A Times Newspaper survey at that time wrote that there were more cars per head of population in Cornwall than anywhere else in England. Of course, the Cornish have never fitted into national statistics; here was the home of the independent free spirit, here the place where the numbers of self-employed were higher than the national average, many craftspeople being rurally home-based. Many had trained at Redruth.

This was the backdrop to the inception of the CCA (Cornwall Crafts Association). The time was right, the timing was perfect. David Metcalf’s experience was requested to head the CCA committee and guide it in its formative years.

I remember walking through the first CCA exhibition of craftwork, wondering at the skilled execution, the great variety. I admired the aims of the CCA and was proud to be a member of the organisation.

I remember also in later years at Trelowarren, walking among throngs of people, it was like a fairground, where crafts people of national repute were demonstrating their skills under canvas. Particularly vivid still is the impression Kaffe Fasset had upon me – a man, a young man, knitting? He had thick knitting needles, was busy with a multicoloured piece and had, as I now know and expect,
this glorious multitude of coloured yarns heaped in his section.

Fowey Hall was another area that was most memorable. It must have been a gracious private home at one time, near the sea, but was hired out for educational purposes, and used by CCA. You would pay a low rate (was it subsidised?) for full board. If you were not a hardy soul, like me, you would apply for a small electric fire to warm your bedroom, one of the few rooms available upstairs if you booked early. Fowey Hall was run like a small thrifty hotel, no ensuite facilities and one member of the very small staff would open the bar for a short time. The main reception room was beautiful, large, and when Bernard Leach came with Janet, there would be young people sitting, usually on the floor, listening to him – a very charismatic man. The first floor landing, flowing from a lovely staircase was large, elegant, and almost semi-circular and all the doors of the rooms opened onto it. Janet, in her inimitable prosaic, practical way, led Bernard Leach around showing him the amenities so that during the night he wouldn’t fall down the stairs or go to the wrong room.

One particular craftsman engaged on one of these occasions was Sam Smith, who made amusing little wooden boats and automata, moveable adult toys with unexpected little additions: tiny books, little letters and well-endowed mermaids. His work was popular in USA. He came with his wife to help him as he had had a stroke. Events were more informal then, the audience kindly disposed.

Trelowarren was the prime venue for CCA exhibitions, and the Previews, often attended by a hundred people, became for some years delightful parties, with food and drink for next to nothing and with a wonderful party atmosphere. The old barns, swept clean, were the party rooms, with ancient benches, anything usable, with our picnic tables and chairs, fresh cloths and sheets. Jenny Pelmore, with her twin sister now an amazing one hundred and one years old, was a leading light, a superb and imaginative cook and organiser. Main course, salad, sweet, cheese and biscuits, tea or coffee cost £2 plus, with optional donations for wine. For the Christmas preview, we decorated the barn with greenery we brought with us and on the day often produced hot food. It was great fun for all of us and great value for money, as the dedicated craftsman, then as now, will rarely be rich except through earning revenue from additional alternative work.

I am so fortunate to have experienced these last forty-odd years, to continue to ply my craft, to have still, a love affair with clay, to have lived with and through wonderful times of change. There are some names of exceptional members; if I do not mention them it is only because I might inadvertently leave some name out. During my more active years with CCA the caring guardian of every aspect has been and now still is, Margaret Way. Without her and before her, Britt Varcoe, I believe CCA would not be the success it is.

CCA has moved with the times, the university trained applied art student still mainly works for love, while the government is becoming more aware that this country needs skilled hands-on workers. The crafts are still a popular way to make money, particularly with the home-based female worker. South West Arts, the Crafts Council, with the CCA, continue to try to raise awareness, standards, and work quality, the standing of the craftsman. With back-up education, CCA is helped in achieving work of very high calibre, well selected and displayed.

People of discernment continue to look for the perfect gift of possession. Where? At the CCA outlets of course.

Redruth School of Mines and School of Art – Established 1860
This article is about Mining education, primarily before the School of Art, as we knew it, became part of Cornwall Technical College. Subsequently the changes in educational policy, funding and social trends are mentioned with reference to following the future of Redruth School of Art.
Mining has taken place in Cornwall since ancient times, tin in particular being mined and traded. Cornwall has had quite exceptional mining traditions. Since the time of the Industrial Revolution and predating this, mining in Cornwall became more industrialized with more sophisticated machinery and greater output.
In the earlier part of the 19th century it became clear that mine captains and those in authority needed greater education in all aspects of mining.
Redruth was a very strong mining area, the most important in Cornwall.
Cornish mining men went all over the world where mining took place, but it was recognized that technical and scientific education was needed in the immediate locality.
Richard Trevithick and James Watts, engineers and inventors, lived near one another at Plain-an-Gwarry, but were not on speaking terms.
As well as mining there was a Mining Exchange with business from all over the country dealing in stocks and shares.
A miners hospital was endowed by Lord Robartes, where doctors from Redruth, Illogan and Camborne daily performed free operations.
In 1824 influential men connected with Cornish mines met to consider raising a monument to James Watts (died 1819) and also to consider the propriety of establishing a public school for men wishing to be mine captains etc.
In 1859 the Miners Association was founded for technical education and later amalgamated with the Mining Institute of Cornwall
(Founded in 1871).
The decision to establish Redruth School of Mines was made in 1860.
The Independent Mining School occupied new premises in Clinton Road with sampling and vanning house, laboratory and furnace room, while mining classes took place at Heanton Terrace.
Redruth School of Mines was built in what were the grounds of Treruffe Manor House in Clinton Road, a solid building built to last in a prestigious area near the main town centre. Pupils were drawn from all over the U.K., India and China.
In 1890 a comprehensive syllabus was undertaken very successfully. The mining school was governed by mining men of high standing, men interested in the practice and theory of mining both on the surface and underground. The lecturers likewise were men experienced in mining both in the U.K. and abroad. Instruction comprised land and mine surveying, geology, mineralogy, blowpipe analyses, mining and mining engineering, mathematics, mechanics, steam physics, building construction, vanning and shaft timbering etc. At the course end, a mining certificate was awarded to successful candidates, recognised as completion of a thorough training. The art course that was included resulted in the drawing of high quality charts.
Later in 1891 the Robert Hunt Memorial Museum was built adjoining the Redruth School of Mines to house mineral geological specimens. This building was built with money raised by public subscription, in memory of Professor Hunt.
In 1901a mining shaft sunk in the garden of the School of Mines was reopened for instructional purposes and underground work at Pednandrea Mine was available for students.
By 1902, Redruth was considered THE place to shop, the school was very important and the Principal of the school was directly or indirectly in charge of most of the post-school education in the Camborne area, particularly in the science and art classes.
At that time the Board of Education considered amalgamating the three Mining Schools at Penzance, Redruth and Camborne, an unpopular decision in Penzance and Redruth. As these two schools became less viable, the amalgamation took place in 1909, and by 1911 Camborne School became virtually a national institution for mining training.
Redruth continued in 1917 – 18 to issue Schools of Science Certificates for evening courses and certificates were still issued in surveying, metalifferous mining and ore dressing. The two-year course ended in 1918 with all instruction-taking place in Camborne.
It was later said of Camborne School of Mines that the ratio of lecturers to students was the highest in Higher Education. These numbers were only reduced when the B.A. Degree was introduced. The school became affiliated with Manchester University with a third year training recognized by the University.
The Mining Museum closed in 1950, the specimens going to the Camborne School of Mines.
From 1860 the building was called the Redruth School of Mines and School of Art, therefore the Redruth School of Art needed no renaming.
The whole Redruth building became the successful Redruth School of Art, a part of Camborne Technical College as it was then called. This was Further Education not Higher Education. Teachers were encouraged to receive training and the part-time teacher took the City and Guilds Further Education Certificate, then at Advanced level. In a short time the Certificate of Education, In-service, became a two-year part-time option to be encouraged. There was a great flowering of education with governmental requirements for upgrading course content and teaching quality. The man in the street was encouraged to enhance his education and classes at Redruth Art School were available to those who sought them, all ages of student taking part together in many instances, the part-time with the full-time student, while fees were very affordable for Adult Recreational Education. The classes available meant that those taking part were becoming knowledgeable and there was increasing Art/Craft interest. The new Redruth-based Vocational training of three and then four year duration in ceramics, which started up in the later 1960s, was of very high calibre, the part-time teachers (they weren’t called tutors in those days) being some of the finest artist/craftsmen of the 20th century: Denis Mitchell, with Bernard, Janet and David Leach.
The smelting furnace in the Redruth building had become a large efficient gas-fired pottery kiln and the adjoining very large high room was the Ceramics Department proper, with efficient heating, and graced by a superb smoky-blond hardwood parquet floor, seldom noticed.
Many art/craft subjects were available there: figure and plant drawing and painting, book illustration, weaving, sculpture, lithography, screen-printing, shop-window dressing, photography, metal-work, jewellery making and others.
The national educational programme became increasingly academic, with a move away from vocational to degree status. The Ceramics Dept. moved to a new purpose-built building at Camborne Technical College, which was trying to upgrade to Higher (university), rather than Further Educational, status. This did not come to pass due to political party election changes.
Prices were going up in the 1970s when there was some national recession; Redruth Art School continued in a reduced form for a few years, closing in 1980-81, sold to a restaurateur and used also as a meadery. The Mining Museum, from being an area for drawing and painting is now where the restaurant clientele is seated. Eating out is now an easier way to socialize and entertain.
Camborne School of Mines survived the mining slump of the 193Os and later moved to a new building in the grounds of Camborne Technical College, before finally being housed at Tremough, Penryn, and part of the Cornish University Group.
The town of Redruth has been for several years in decline, as has Camborne town. The huge mining interests and mining employment have almost ended In Cornwall and mining throughout much of the world is less financially viable.
Winston Graham’s Poldark novels romanticising mining have resulted in some Cornish tourist attractions of revamped mining buildings. The tourist trade is now of prime importance to Cornwall.

Re. Bibliography, all reference material has been obtained from The Cornwall Centre, the new home of the Cornish Studies Library, at Alma Place, Redruth.


Mates Illustrated Redruth. A literary and pictorial Souvenir… 1914
C914 x001233173
Reference only
Written by Thurston C. Peter
The official guide of the Redruth District Council
No page numbers, but facing page is photograph

Annals of an Ancient Cornish Town- Redruth
Being notes on the history of Redruth
by Frank Mitchell 1978
Printed original 1946. Printed by Headland Printers, Penzance
Pages 150,154, 208

3 Pamphlet Files c/378 42376
Certificates awarded to J. Keven in 1917-18 for satisfactory completion in Surveying, Metalifferous Mining and Ore Dressing at Redruth School of Mines.

A short History of the Camborne School of Mines. By L.P.S. Piper – Page 18.
Reprinted from the Journal of the Trevithick Society 1975.
Printed by Headland Printing Co. Bread Street, Penzance.

Photocopy of
Programme for 1898-9.Established 1860
Redruth School of Mines and School of Art.
Printed by F. Tregaskis. Stamp Office, Fore Street, Redruth. 1898.

The School of Metalifferous Mining (Cornwall)
Prospectus 1928-29.


11 years ago

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