One of the highlights of my trip to London was the chance to go mudlarking with my friend C - twice, at two very different Thames locations! So, this Accumulator Seriali blog post is also a London - part 1½, in a way.
I brought home loads and loads of finds, knowing I'd both use them in my mixed media work and that it's going to be a while before I get to go back to a tidal foreshore filled with treasures. Broken clay pipes, especially bits of their stems, are among the most common finds, but I ended picking up a ton of those "boring" stems as I immediately knew what I'd do with them if only I had a ton at hand (a miniature preview coming on Monday). In addition to the stems, I felt really lucky to find an intact pipe bowl by Tate Modern - if this illustration is anything to go by, I think it might be from 1690-1750. Later in the week, while we were at her regular mudlarking spot, C found a decorated piece of pipe and kindly gave it (among many other lovely things) to me - can you see the grapes on the bowl? And that little horizontal heart at the heel of the bottommost stem? The white clay has been beautifully stained by the mud!
Thames has a lot more to offer than bits of old pipes:
As you can see, I like all kinds of junk! Pottery, bits of bone, glass, buttons, shells, and other entirely random things. Some of these finds are from our honeymoon trip to London last year, like that mysterious white swirly cone at the bottom right of the above photo. It feels like marble, but I'm no expert. C's knowledge of pottery, on the other hand, is truly impressive! She can tell so much from a tiny shard of pottery! I obviously can't - I'd tell you all about the above stuff...
It was so worth getting up before sunrise to catch the early low tide on Saturday. Both the beach and the river were so calm and quiet.
Afterwards we had brunch at a yurt café (!!!) with C's family and C let me pick some of her finds, too! (I left the teeth - I feel weird about traveling with lots of teeth in my suitcase...)
At home I cleaned up the finds, spending a loooong time getting the mud out of the pipe stems so I could get a needle go through. But it's worth it, I hope.
As a hoarder-arranger I couldn't avoid arranging the pipe stems into pleasing groupings as I planned Monday's mixed media piece. The photo above really shows off the variety of colours the river has given these plain white clay pipes. Buried possibly for centuries, eventually revealed, now picked up by me. Somehow it's all a bit baffling for someone who doesn't run into such history in their daily life...