Written by artist in residence, Carol Weir

Hello again! Last time I showed you how my map was progressing but this time I’d like to tell you about the other part of my project. My residency here also forms part of my studies for a Master’s Degree on the Illustration Authorial Practice course at Falmouth University, where, I have been developing my visual art alongside some creative writing. For my final exhibition at university, I exhibited some of my creative writing, together with my dissertation.

During my research in the archive here at Wheal Martyn, I have discovered the written work of Jack Clemo (1916 - 1994), a local deaf and blind poet, who wrote poetry about the local Clay Country and wrote local dialect stories. This informed my dissertation titled A Hauntology of landscape in the poems of Jack Clemo in conversation with the animation of Dawn Tuffery. Tuffery’s short animated film Greensplat was based on her early life in Greensplat village, which was demolished as the China Clay pit expanded. My dissertation was handbound and the cover was made using my hand-made paper, containing China Clay from the Wheal Martyn pit.

Whilst rummaging in the archive, I also found some interesting anecdotal stories relating to the Martyn family, who founded the China Clay pit at Wheal Martyn and lived at Carthew House. These stories, together with Clemo’s poems, inspired me to start writing my own poetry and prose over the last 12 months; something that is new to me and which has been both enjoyable and challenging!

Similarly to the hand-made paper map that I am working on, I have based the writing on my own observations of the site, and the relationship between Wheal Martyn China Clay pit and Carthew House, which was demolished in the 1970’s as the pit expanded.

As a result, fact and fiction, past and present all collide in an anthology, which is a collection of my poems, little snippets of historical information, some re-written anecdotal stories from the archive and a spattering of pure fantasy. This collection of writing is separated into sections; Carthew House, the pit, Richard Uriah Martyn and Ivy Martyn and each section is marked at the beginning with one of my paintings, relating to each of them. 

For the exhibition, the anthology was displayed on a writing bureau, referencing the one owned by Clemo and which is exhibited at Wheal Martyn Clayworks. The pages escaped from the book and flew up the wall. On the wall itself, I had created a line drawing of the pit in charcoal. 

I have also included a couple of my sketches on the cover; the front cover depicts Carthew House in its heyday and the back cover shows the house shortly before its demolition. 

If you would like to see more of this publication for yourself, the book is now on sale in the shop at Wheal Martyn. 

Keep a look out for more news soon about the progress of my hand-made paper map and I hope to reveal the finished work soon. Watch this space!