Gwen MacGregor

Mudlarking Series – Not here not now


wooden crate, vacuum formed trays, clay buttons, jars of water exhibited in Mudlarkers and Measurers at Agnes Etherington Art Gallery, Kingston, Ontario, 1997, and Ottawa Art Gallery, Ottawa, Ontario, 1997

This work used buttons, found in the River Thames, as the central focus. They were cast in clay and placed in vacuum formed trays in a wooden crate. Each day the gallery attendant took a row of buttons and placed them in a jar of water where they dissolved. The last of the Mudlarking Series, this work metaphorically brought the objects back to the river. This work was part of a traveling exhibition and the more it was shown the less there was of it.

Photo: Robbie Polly

Mudlarking is the process of digging up objects from the River Thames in London, England. Beginning in 1991, I created three installations that each focused on one kind of object and its particular characteristics and history. The works Pins, Not here not now, and Non-returnable are together known as the Mudlarking Series.