Foragers of the Foreshore
Tue 24 Sep
11am - 6pm
Curated by Florence Evans, Foragers of the Foreshore is the most expansive exhibition on Mudlarking that has ever taken place; it unearths the history of London through items recovered from the Thames. Discover the weird and wonderful world of mudlarking, from its origins in the Victorian era, to its popularity today. Meet the mudlarkers who have dedicated themselves to finding London’s lost treasures, and marvel at the fascinating collections that have shaped their lives.
The exhibition will feature photographic portraits of mudlarkers taken by Hannah Smiles, and a chance to meet Mudlarker in Residence Nicola White. Plus see spectacular work by artists who use mudlark finds in very unusual ways.
On top of all that, MOLA’s Thames Discovery Programme, Thames21 and Unruly Heritage relate mudlarking to inter-tidal archaeology and the topical issue of objects lost or discarded today becoming tomorrow’s archaeological treasures.
There will also be a programme of walks, talks, and guided mudlarking taking place as part of the project, search 'Foragers of the Foreshore' on our website for more information. Full details of what's on in the Bargehouse exhibition can be found below.
Photo © Hannah Smiles
Nicola White, Mudlark in Residence:
As Resident Mudlark at our Foragers of the Foreshore exhibition, artist Nicola White will be recreating her studio where she keeps her Thames finds and found objects, the inspirations behind her Tideline Art. Come and meet her, discover some of her favourite mudlarking finds and hear the fascinating stories behind them. Nicola will also be displaying her collection of messages in bottles from the Thames and will be creating a sculpture from plastic waste throughout the week. She will be in the Bargehouse each day and looks forwards to answering questions about her love of the River Thames and her 15 years of foraging along the foreshore.
Mudlarkers, Julia Fullerton-Batten
Julia Fullerton-Batten is a worldwide acclaimed and exhibited fine-art photographer. Growing up on the Isis in Oxford, she has been continually inspired by the River Thames in her work, and has a dedicated a series to researching and photographing a selection of cultural and historical narratives from along its banks, bringing the past into the present with a truly unique visual language. As part of Foragers of the Foreshore, Julia exhibits her epic portrait ‘Mudlarkers’ (2018)
Genius Loci of the Thames, Ashleigh Fisk
As the legend goes, the Genius Loci, or spirit, of the Thames was born into the newly formed Thames source. As it eventually flowed into the sea, the spirit witnessed the moon and her power over the waters, and they instantly fell in love, the spirit serenading the moon with its undying love. See artist Ashleigh Fisk perform as the Genius Loci and their ‘love song to the moon’ in an installation comprising of speculative ceramic artifacts as well as objects collected on the Thames foreshore. To interact with the Genius Loci is to create contact with the past, and enduring presence of the river itself.
Monster Soup, Irma Irsara
Monster Soup 2019 uses samples from different locations along the river to create projected time-lapses of melting frozen Thames’s water embedded with items found along the foreshore. A second microscopic time-lapse work shows what’s normally unseen with an emphasis on micro fibre plastic and its potential impact on the environment. Accompanying sound created by musician and soundscape artist Jonathan Lambert
History in your Hand, Anna Borzello and Monika Buttling-Smith
History in Your Hand lets you experience the thrill of mudlarking without getting your feet wet or your hands dirty. Slip your hand into the Magical Mudlark Machine - designed by creative technologist Jesse Wolpert - and pick up a virtual object from the virtual foreshore. Will it be a Roman lamp or a shard of Victorian pottery? Mudlarks Anna Borzello and Monika Buttling-Smith will be available to tell you more.
The River Thames and its foreshore are a living museum. When the foreshore is exposed at low tide, the Thames becomes the longest archaeological site in Britain. Every year mudlarks discover hundreds of historically important artifacts while beach-combing along the River Thames. Each of these treasures and the everyday objects from London’s past have their own fascinating stories to tell. The Thames Museum creates a voice for these objects, giving visitors a totally immersive experience, a time capsule transporting you back to the great Elizabethan, Georgian and Victorian maritime periods.
Susi Arnott and Crispin Hughes
Still obsessed with Thames tides, this pair of artists present a raft of new work attending to foreshore finds of man-made detritus and photosynthesising commuters. While Duck questions your point-of-view, Slimewatch and Detrito-Cam are supported by interactive events that offer a chance to make your own photographic and micro-photographic records – and perhaps some plasticine plankton.
Meditations on the River Thames, Micah Moore
London-based Multimedia artist Micah Moore was born and raised in Alabama, U.S.A. and has had a lifelong fascination with searching for hidden objects through metal detecting, fossil hunting and most recently, mudlarking.
“One of the main reasons I love mudlarking, is the meditative calm that comes over me while searching on the foreshore. I wanted to recreate that almost trance-like state through immersive video and soundscape.”
Raewyn is a London based ceramic artist who grew up in New Zealand. She creates porcelain collections with a strong narrative based on sites and structures that fascinate her. The Thames is a constant source of inspiration which led to the creation of her Mud Larking* series. She collects fragments from the foreshore, delves into archives for historical maps, and goes on expeditions to take photographs of decommissioned structures in the Thames Estuary.
Ask the Experts
Bring in your own foraged foreshore finds, and take up the opportunity to ask our resident experts all about them. Experts include: Forehsore Archaeologist Dr. Fiona Haughey and Archaeologists from the Museum of London (MOLA).
Unruly Heritage – An Archaeology of the Anthropocene
Unruly Heritage investigate how the haunting, ruined, and stranded material legacies of the Anthropocene challenge conceptions of heritage, and urge us to adopt more accommodating and complex understandings. This collective have joined forces with our Thames foragers of the foreshore, to complicate traditional delineations between past and present, and question how objects’ unruly afterlives allow for alternative memory practices and ecological ethics.
Lara Maiklem has scoured the banks of the Thames for over fifteen years, in pursuit of the objects that the river unearths: from Neolithic flints to Roman hair pins, medieval buckles to Tudor buttons, Georgian clay pipes to Victorian toys. These objects tell her about London and its lost ways of life. She will be hosting Mudlarking: Lost and Found on the River Thames, with Lara Maiklem and friends.
Mudlark, Hannah Smiles
The range of objects eroding from the mud with every tide is astonishing: from Neolithic flint tools, to Roman detritus, pottery and glassware across the centuries to animal bones and human teeth, religious curios, relics of war, children’s toys or yesteryear’s fashions – pins, jewels, buckles, buttons, leather and cloth. These beautiful still-life images of mudlark finds and mudlarkers themselves by Hannah Smiles illuminate the fascinating practice from a new perspective. You can also see a full exhibition of her work on the Southbank throughout September.
View the most intricate and delicate drawings of finds imaginable, by the talented Johnny Mudlark, who spends many hours sketching on the banks of the River Thames in his journal.
Plus a host of wrap around talks at the Bargehouse including:
And even the chance to join some Moonlit Mudlarking with Illuminated River.
Plus a series of archaeological walks and talks from Dr. Fiona Haughey, Thames Explorer Trust and MOLA which can be found on our website.
Tue 24 Sep
11am - 6pm
Wed 25 Sep
11am - 6pm
Thu 26 Sep
11am - 6pm
Fri 27 Sep
11am - 6pm
Sat 28 Sep
11am - 6pm
Sun 29 Sep
11am - 6pm