Tate Modern & Mudlarking

Anne Butler Parian Bowls from £50.

Ruth Shelley glass
James & Tilla Waters pots


Lara Scobie
slip-cast Parian

Barry Stedman

Clive Bowen

To complete my previous blog, I’d like to add pots by clay artists who are permanent members of Contemporary Applied Arts. This gallery shows the best of British Fine Crafts.

This was my final day in England and I was determined to make the most of it, in spite of having picked up one of those beastly colds that one does on a trip like this. I stopped in at a Starbucks for a latte and a ‘toastie’ while admiring the new addition to Tate Modern. When I was last here there were huge cranes and much building going on but now I saw the extraordinary brick extension to the once plain power station that is Tate Modern Art gallery.

Sonia Delaunay

Inside I simply took myself to all the free exhibits, most of which I’ve seen before but was pleased to admire the real paintings again. On my previous visit I loved seeing the big Sonia Delaunay exhibit so felt pulled to her works in the permanent collection.

Bridget Riley

Bridget Riley





Other pieces that grabbed me were the Bridget Riley paintings and one by Gerhard Richter.

Gerhard Richter


I also enjoyed a carpet and a tapestry hanging side by side, the carpet by Iranian Parviz Tanavoli who works in Canada, and the tapestry by Briton Eduardo Paolozzi. 













Then I noticed that there is an elevator to the tenth floor which didn’t exist before. Check it out! said I and I found myself with other tourists, up amongst the skyscrapers of the South Bank. How London has changed since I lived there over fifty years ago! St Paul’s, once an outstanding landmark, is tiny in my little video here. You can see it across the Millennium pedestrian bridge on the Thames’ North side. Also remarkable on this day was the peculiar colour of the sky. I was reminded of our BC skies this summer when the air was filled with particulates from horrendous forest fires here and South of us in the States. The sun was red at mid-day. A fellow tourist explained that Hurricane Ophelia which was just then blowing off the West coast of Ireland had brought Sahara sand and particulates from fires burning in Portugal to the skies over England. It felt positively apocalyptic.


Feeling pretty dreadful, I decided to skip the nephew-recommended boat trip to Tate Britain to see the work of Rachael Whiteread and instead make my way gently back to Waterloo, and an above-ground train back to Mortlake where I was staying. As I poddled along the Embankment I remembered that people go ‘mudlarking’ along the banks of the Thames. I have seen photos of fascinating historical finds bearing witness to the City of London’s ancient history, dating back to Londinium and before. When I was a college student, at a Teacher Training College in Camberwell I was lucky to have taken a course on the History of London. What a treat! ‘Go to the Museum of London, check what is underground in London besides the tube, visit bits of Roman wall’.. good memories. Mudlarkers are permitted to collect surface finds that the tide may have turned up, but no digging is allowed. I thought perhaps this was the day for me to find a significant piece of a Bellarmine salt-glazed German wine jar! Nobody was on the South shore of the muddy, forbidding river, but as I walked West I spotted a staircase down to the beach of smooth pebbles.






On a very windy and oddly dark day I spent a contented fifteen minutes pretending to be a Mudlark. My finds are modest – just potsherds and some pieces of broken clay pipes – but they travelled back to Canada with me as lucky talismans for my 9 1/2 hour flight the next day. The curved handle piece is one I picked up on a previous London stay, from the shore at Putney. Silly me.

Dark sky on a London afternoon.


It is now over two weeks since I got back to Port Moody. We’ve had an unusually beautiful period of Fall colour but now, as we prepare to turn our clocks back, and the weather has turned much colder I have been getting back to my studio. The ‘Raiders’ are trying to find days when they can get out here for a plate-painting day so life is settling back to routine.





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