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Nicola White p1

READERSVOICE.COM aims to collect a few interesting reading tips. Nicola White is a mudlark, artist and historian. Mudlarks walk the banks of rivers like the Thames at low tide, finding all sorts of historical artefacts. These sometimes tiny objects, like luggage name tags, an ink well, or a button, lead Ms White on journeys of discovery, sometimes solving mysteries about their past and telling stories about their forgotten previous owners. And she creates evocative art works from other discarded items, like cigarette lighters, soles of shoes, and bits of metal and broken pewter.

Coins and clay pipes, arrow heads from medieval days, Tudor bricks, and all sorts of other mysterious artefacts from the past are washed onto the stony banks of the Thames and Medway Rivers with each high tide.
Nicola White is fascinated by the mysteries of objects and the stories, often unknowable, about the previous owners. She said she enjoys reading about real people, too. And she’s working on her own book. “I’m actually in the midst of writing my book at the moment – a little about mudlarking and a little about me.” For some of Nicola White’s fascinating finds and their equally intriguing back stories, see her Youtube videos. See also tidelineart.com for her evocative art work.

READERSVOICE.COM: Someone I know loved the Thames Lighter Fish on perspex, made with more than 100 lighters found on the Thames foreshore. And I really liked the Thames Express Train made of metal fragments. What inspired the image for Dark Secrets — Beautiful Dreams, made of pieces of metal and glass beads?

NICOLA WHITE: Dark Secrets – Beautiful dreams is a collage made up of found objects from the River Thames and is in the form of a woman (made with a pewter torso I found a couple of years ago) emerging from the Thames throwing a handful of found glass beads into the air. Her skirt is made with lead soldiers, bullets, shrapnel and other found objects once owned by people from London or passing through. Dark Secrets refers to the remnants of the war, both WW1 and WW2, which I find whilst I’m mudlarking: items such as bullets, shrapnel from the anti-aircraft guns, military buttons and cap badges, and once, even a hand grenade. These are reminders of London’s darker past. The beads and crystals which she is throwing into the air represent the dreams of all those whose items I find in the Thames.
When I am mudlarking, I sometimes stop and look at the Thames, and I wonder at all of the secrets and dreams which it holds, and the people from the past whose items I am now finding in the mud.

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