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Wednesday, 19 September 2012

A little mudlarking

A few weeks ago we went mudlarking along the north bank of the Thames, and for once, this Summer, it wasn't raining! In fact it was a beautifully sunny morning–not too hot and not too cold–just perfect for picking up any treasure the tide may have washed up onto the beach. Alas, I didn't find any priceless gems, or Roman artefacts (and such are the laws concerning mudlarking, that I wouldn't have been able to keep them if I had) but I did find plenty of tumbled pottery, which is almost as good.

Not only does mudlarking give you a chance to see the city from another perspective, but you're allowed to keep your haul, as long as it's not of archaeological interest, and you don't disturb a single stone when you pick up any items that catch your eye. If you know what you're looking for, you might be lucky enough to find Victorian buttons and even bits of Elizabethan pottery, or perhaps, a perfectly intact clay pipe. I prefer to collect fragments of Willow Pattern though, and I don't care how old they are as long as the edges are all lovely and smooth.

Back home, I gave my tumbled pottery a good wash, tipped it into a Willow Pattern bowl and left it on a window sill. But my haul refused to be ignored, and, every time I looked at them, and played with them, I kept thinking 'I really should do something with these lovely bits of history'. So, I cut the leg of an old pair of Patrick's jeans that were destined for the charity shop, and decided to make a little sample by couching a few pieces of pottery onto the fabric and adding some stitches, some French knots, and a border. The resulting 'fabric sketch' might be quite rough, but it has given me some food for thought about how I might display found items in future, such as sea glass, or old keys. Or maybe, it could be the start of a bigger project?

How do you display your finds and treasures?


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