“I’m interested in where nature and industry co-exist and I’m curious to find out if this resonates with local people who live their lives amongst the extraordinariness of both. I’m interested, too, in words associated with clay; extraction, crushing, blending, to see if they evoke story scenarios or poems. And, I’m interested in how the natural world and the site coexist. I’m interested in flowers, birds, grasses, insects – the miniscule against the mighty.”

These are the words of Jane Pugh, who Literature Works and Wheal Martyn Clay Works Museum in Cornwall are delighted to announce as the ‘Writers of the Clay’ writer-in-residence at the museum, near St Austell, during the month of February. Jane is a highly innovative creative practitioner who has worked extensively with local communities. She wowed us with her fabulously original approach to this unique residency, exploring the heritage and tales of the clay mining communities with local people of today.

Jane will run two walking, writing and creating workshops with local community groups and families at either end of February half term. The first, on Saturday 19th February will be themed around Nature and Natural History. The second, on Saturday 26th February, will explore Unnatural and Supernatural (there are lots of lots of Wheal Martyn ghost stories!). Participants’ words will be crafted by local ceramicists into and on ‘story bowls’ and ‘poetry pots’ to be exhibited at Wheal Martyn and launched with a reading by Jane and her workshop participants.

If you are involved with a local community group who would like to take part, email Sian Powell, Exhibition and Engagement Officer at Wheal Martyn: engagementofficer@wheal-martyn.com

Jane Pugh is a writer and performer based in Penzance. She is course leader and lecturer specializing in screenwriting at Falmouth University and leads workshops for The Writers’ Block. In 2021, she produced Paper, Pens and Envelopes, a letter-writing scheme for primary school children and old people living in isolation following lock-down. Jane leads Discover Your Story workshops for the National Trust throughout the Southwest, enabling staff and volunteers to find and share property stories with visitors. As a script editor and developer, Jane manages the annual Emerging Writers Scheme for The Minack Theatre, and as a freelance script editor, her clients include Ed Rowe, Mark Hayhurst (First Light, Chichester Theatre Festival) and Wildworks (Wolf’s Child).