In one of my previous blogs, I showed you some of the processes involved with making my hand-made paper map. I’m pleased to say, the map is now completed and on display up by Pit View, here at Wheal Martyn.

Above I am pictured with the map, from the reverse side, which depicts a collection of images of graffiti that I found on site. I have used these to reference the local communities who are affected by the china clay industry.

The front of the map illustrates the relationship between the old and new china clay pits and some of the buildings that have been demolished as Wheal Martyn pit grew, and the paper contains china clay from Wheal Martyn pit itself.

In some lights, the front and back images can be seen interacting with each other, just as the china clay industry and the local communities are intertwined. Over time, the work may be affected by its environment and change too; I intend to document this over the next year. If you visit the site regularly, maybe you will notice changes too!

The installation of this artwork sadly marks the end of my residency here and it has been an amazing experience and I feel privileged to have been able to work at such a unique site that preserves an important part of our local heritage. The staff and volunteers have all been so friendly and welcoming, as well as being enthusiastic about my artwork, and have been so helpful with my research. Visitors to Wheal Martyn have also been interested in my work and interesting to talk to, sharing their stories and experiences of the museum and industry, which has been fascinating.

Everything wasn’t always plain sailing though and, apart from the huge disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic, sometimes other unexpected events affected my time here.  When I first started working on site, I intended to have a work station in the Linhay but had to abandon that idea when the bats that live there urinated on my work – either they don’t appreciate art or they are harsh critics! I found it easier to just work out and about round the site after that!

Although my residency here has ended, I’ll still be returning to site to document the changes to my work and I’m sure I’ll continue to be involved with the museum in the future – maybe I’ll see you on site sometime.

Carol Weir