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The Mudlark | Fliff Carr

The Mudlark | Fliff Carr

As the tide turns along the shores of the River Thames, Fliff Carr slowly crunches along amongst the pebbles and rocks of the banks, unearthing ancient treasures to incorporate into her work.

Small in scale but statuesque in presence, each piece speaks of a forgotten history, dislodged from the muddy banks of the river and re-homed into another type of mud, the fine white earthenware which is a signature of Fliff's work. The combination of the two is both compelling and peaceful.

Fliff Carr is a maker of simple yet beautiful ceramics. Working from her studio in north London for the last 16 years, her finely thrown and hand rolled work is uniquely eclectic. Exploration of scale and pattern characterise Fliff’s sometimes whimsical often surprising pieces. Shell-like white earthenware clay is combined with found objects and touches of gold and platinum lustre to create these magical pieces.

Inspired by her a love of found objects Fliff uses artefacts and fragments of a past narrative as a constant inspiration for her work. She references details from fields as diverse as book illustration, cathedral glass, graffiti, machinery, masonry and lace which inform the texture, shape and imagery present in her collection.

Below, Fliff's finds are taken back and laid out in the studio ready to be made into future works.


“I am drawn to the idea of collecting and like to design and display things in groups. My use of gold adds to the notion of ‘treasure’, of found objects that are precious.”

In many ways Fliff Carr's works are beautiful pieces of function, a lidded pot for keeping your own treasures, a luxurious butter dish for a special breakfast - a cheese dish even.

However, as you look at the piece closely it begins to reveal its poetic story; the fine, shell-like domes recall the shape of buoys bobbing in the water. The 'mudlark' finds are clustered, clinging like barnacles, or sitting proudly like sentinels on top.

With each changing tide the River Thames reveals a new batch of treasure and Fliff Carr is often there to unearth it.

She favours bits of twisted iron, ancient nails, 17th century pottery, flattened metal chess pieces, fragments of clay pipes and little ceramic figurines. Sometimes these are left in their raw state, other times gold lustre is added in varying degrees, elevating these mud-covered finds into precious objects.

Inspired by her a love of found objects Fliff uses artefacts and fragments of a past narrative as a constant inspiration for her work. Her studio is filled with carefully organised 'finds' just waiting to be incorporated into a fine earthenware object.

Evocative titles such at 'Trade Tag' (above  left) and The King of Tides (above right) offer tantalising clues into the objects history. Some 'treasures' are left in their natural state, often sandblasted by the countless tides, others are covered in a gold or pewter lustre which follows down on to the ceramic itself.

The pots are like tiny museums, displaying an artefact once lost in the thick Thames mud and now proudly sitting on top of a beautifully hand thrown vessel.


  • Post author
    Caitlin Daw