someone who scavenges in river mud for items of value, a term used especially to describe those who scavenged this way in London during the late 18th and 19th centuries. Today Mudlark permits are given by the Thames Mudlark Society for those who wish to explore in the hope of unearthing a fragment of the past and spend some time by the river.
The Shop Floor Project's new collection takes its title from a book that we recently fell in love with. London in Fragments: A Mudlark's Treasure by Ted Sandling takes us down onto the River Thames foreshore where all manner of fragments are found. With each find, Sandling follows the threads of history back through the countless tides of the river to "tell the story of this great city". Sinclair Mackay writes that "the sense of continuity makes you a little tearful" and there is certainly something spellbinding about the entries.
For The Mudlark exhibition, The Shop Floor Project has commissioned their stable of artists and makers to respond to this concept and the wider theme of the 'river'. Fliff Carr, Denise Allan, Yukihiro Akama, Hannah Upritchard and Samantha Allan (all regular mudlarkers themselves) have created a collection of special treasures inspired by the River Thames - above and below its muddy waters.