September 2021

Our new family-friendly exhibition at Wheal Martyn Clay Works gives you the chance to find out more about one of life’s secret ingredients.

You may not have heard of kaolin – but you will almost definitely have interacted with some already today.

Also known as china clay, kaolin can be found in toothpaste, your morning newspaper, the porcelain bowl you eat your cereal in and the porcelain mug you drink tea and coffee from. It's also found in plastic, electrical components and paint. It may even be in the makeup you wear or the cushion covers you relax on at the end of the day.

The 'China Clay in your Everyday' exhibition explores an average day in someone’s life and showcases how much kaolin we interact with on a daily basis.

Our museum tells the story of the historic china clay process which still exists as a hugely significant part of our everyday lives today, especially in St Austell and the wider Clay Country.

Kaolin is formed as a result of the decomposition of some of the minerals in granite. Once refined, a white powder is formed which is used as an ingredient in all sorts of familiar products including ceramics, paper, rubber, paint, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and even aircraft components.


Pay us a visit this summer and discover just how much china clay is in your everyday!

Access to the exhibition is free, as part of the normal museum admission fee. The exhibition runs until 31 October.