I have a few friends that partake in the pursuit of Mudlarking: scavenging in river mud for objects of worth.
The term became popular during the 18th and 19th Centuries when London was a major stopping point on the trade routes, bringing in cargo from all around the world. Some of the poorest Londoners made their living by scouring the river looking for anything of value: washed-up cargo, dead bodies to loot, coins and bits and pieces of metal they found on the foreshore at low tide. Anything they could find to sell on. These were the Mudlarks.
In London today the tradition still exists but the treasure has changed.
Yesterday morning I was initiated in this pursuit by chief mudlarker and Mosaic artist, Alex McHallam, along with Helen Kamisnsky, mixed media artist and our furry friend Brodie. Both artists have woven pieces of debris, washed up on the shores of the Thames into some of their work. I just went for the inspiration!
We drove down to Wapping, enjoying the city at it's best on a gloriously sunny Sunday. Within minutes I discovered 'find of the day' which was an old rusted key, which sadly I failed to photograph: it's nearly midnight, so don't think I'll set up a shot now!
Anyway, here are some other bits of metal that caught my eye and a few other snaps from a great morning's work!