Friday, 24 January 2014

Stuck at home not mudlarking

Rain and being a responsible mother is keeping me away from the Thames for a good month. Growl. So as I'm not in the shed mosaicing tonight and a bunch of big teens have commandeered the TV room I'll spend a while finishing off this post with a few finds from my last mudlark. The first is part of a cartouche from a bellamine jug. Interestingly London Mudlark found one very similar shortly after I picked this up. Someone ventured it bore Amsterdam's coat of arms. 

Mudlarking find: salt glazed cartouche 1550-1700
A very worn decorated pipe, the same ghostly sleep walking figure appearing on both sides. There are surprising few pictures of decorated pipes on the web so have not a clue what this might  be, hoping Richard might be able to help out.  

Just love this large chunk of green glazed pottery. I'm always rather moved by seeing the decoration someone has pinched with their finger tips hundreds of year ago. It is unusually refined, does this mean it it was produced in France or is it the more recent (1550-1700) Surrey Hampshire Border Ware? I really am rubbish at identifying the different types of green glazed ceramic, so I'll be taking this down to the Thames Discovery identification session on 4 Feb for some expert advice from Jacqui Pearce the pottery czar from the Museum of London Archaeology.   

And finally the oldest pipe I have ever found 1580 - 1620, it's weeny and next to a whopper from the 1770s. 
Mudlarking finds: clay pipes L 1770s and R 1580

Friday, 3 January 2014

Mudlarking Mosaic - Half Way There

As a child I knew every picture in every book in my childhood home, every object in every cupboard, every ornament in my grandparent's house. I was particularly captivated by detail and if there was some secret to be found in an image even better. So it's been enjoyable piecing together sections of mosaic with a few secrets of their own. In one section close inspection reveals the relief tongue flicking and roaring lions of Westerwald jugs and chamber pots. 

Produced in Germany from the 16th Century. They were imported to England in volume. These little beasties were probably impressed between 1650 - 1700

Westerwald Chamber Pot 17th C (Croker Farm)
Westerwald Jug (Christies) 
More intricate details can be found in the sections of salt glazed stoneware, largely originating from medallions on Bartmann Jugs again imported in huge quantities from Germany, often holding wine. By 1600 100,000 pieces of German Stoneware were imported into Britain a year, when the population of London was only 200,000 and Britain's population was under 5 million. 

Bellarmine (or Bartmann Jug) C 1580 (Martyn Edgell) 
A watery mosaic needs a few boats, in this instance topped by a sky of small shards of flowered flow blue, a type of transfer ware where the cobalt blue 'flows' into the white body, produced from 1820. 

Next onto the really tricky bit, well tricky if you don't possess or haven't found the right equipment to cut clay pipes in half or in sections. Unfortunately very easy to shatter, so these sections take ages, but I love their effect. No credit can come to me as again I'm just copying Emma Brigg's mosaic. 

I did manage one innovation however. I couldn't have created a mudlarking mosaic without mother of pearl, found in abundance in one section of the foreshore. There must have been one or more workshops set up along the Thames to inlay the mollusc's creamy secretions into furniture or jewelry. The photo doesn't quite do it justice as you can imagine when it catches the light it's blooming lovely. The long ribbon of pipes and cream ceramic above took a mind boggling three days to put together. 

And finally another 'chunk' coming together.

Back to work next week, I'm going to miss my long absorbing shed sessions.