Traditionally, a mudlark was someone who scavenged in river mud for items of value – a term used especially for those who scavenged this way in London during the late 18th and 19th centuries. Mudlarks would search the muddy shores of the River Thames at low tide for anything that could be sold – and sometimes, when occasion arose, pilfering from river traffic. By at least the late 18th century, people dwelling near the river could scrape a subsistence living this way. Mudlarks were usually either youngsters aged between eight and fifteen, or the robust elderly – and though most mudlarks were male, girls and women were also scavengers. – Wikipedia
The term has since been revived, with hundreds of people going to the Thames at low tide and sifting through the mud and pebbles for treasures like porcelain shards, coins, bits of jewellery, pins, buckles, pipe stems and the like.
It’s a favourite pastime of mine – though I suspect what we do here is dustlarking… we have a huge collection of porcelain shards in our home and I often examine them with a feeling of great satisfaction.
Above, my first attempt at making a colour to celebrate my fascination and interest in the Mudlark. Luckily I kept two skeins for myself and they have formed the body of my Sunset Highway Sweater, which at the moment is in limbo – sans left arm.
I felt that I was not done exploring these colours and so my second Mudlark was born: a more silvery grey, rusted version.
I have a feeling there will be more where these came from.