Mudlarking – I like the word very much, I first encountered it here.  That’s me in the photo below, mudlarking my ass off at Dead Horse Beach.  I’ve been getting wonderful little bits and pieces found there from the bottle man at the park slope flea market for years, last Saturday I finally got out there myself with my friend Craig.  The history of the place is fascinating,  you can read more about it here and there is an article about the Barren Island fire of 1906 here.

photos by craig duff

ann wood at Dead Horse Beach looking for stuff

We were there when the tide was out revealing  a crazy  blanket of old  glass bottles  and all sorts of  other things  – everyday sorts of things – old timey trash.



I had a marvelous time.


  1. Dear Ann

    Thanks so much for sharing such a wonderful creative and original work. I sometimes think it transgresses the boundaries of fabric creation!! I really like it and I admire it.

    I am very impressed with your photos. I have to say it is the first time I see so many bottles in a beach and it has made me feel so sad. In shock. I have to say I am from the south of Spain. I can not imagine the beaches around here like that. And the history of the place is interesting indeed.

    Though I am very happy seeing people as you exist and can find use of so many things to recicle and make such a beautiful use of these.

    Thanks so much.
    Un saludo

  2. Your photos are incredible! I had forgotten all about Mudlarking but first heard of it in a wonderful book. The book is “The Christmas Doll”, by Elvira Woodruff. It is the story of two very poor little girls, sisters. They have to go mudlarking to survive, and they end up finding a doll in the mud who changes their lives. It’s a beautiful story and will touch your heart. Thank-you for sharing the amazing photos!

  3. Oh dear. That is terrible and terrific all at the same time.

    Mudlarking. Hmmmm. I’m off to a river bank somewhere.

  4. carole bridgman

    I had no idea a website could be so wonderful and horrible all at once. What sort of men are finding such treasure! And all backed by that green and without any context, and the alimentary theme–oh my gosh. however. i will dream of this tonight, i hope. Don’t the child’s shoes look like Keens?


    I love following your blog. It makes me happy and right now that is the best thing ever!

  6. I would love to ‘mudlark’ myself! If there is anything that I like it is wandering on the beach looking for… mmm ‘anything’, but I have noticed that the beaches over here (North Sea shore) are quite clean, probably cleaned by local government professional beach cleaning companies in the early morning. I love these photos, treasure beach to me!

  7. Hi, NATI I also live in the south of Spain, and totally agree with you…I cannot imagine a beach like this here, but at the same time, I admire what Ann does with this “rubbish” and understand the joy she feels finding so many materials for her art…



  8. Dear Ann, thanks for your post. Even knowing that in the end it is horrible that humans pollute their planet this way, it seems to be a big adventure to “dig the mud”. It looks like a real treasure hunt and even treasure find. I would have loved to join you.

  9. I really want to go to there next time im in Brooklyn!

    Every once in a while I get a kick out of looking at this nutty British mudlarking site– it is done by some true mudlarking professionals and shows some of the more interesting things that they pull out of the banks of the Thames:

  10. Wonderful! I would love to have a wander around there!
    Any messages in any of the bottles? LOL! Why do I think of Kevin Costner when I type that sentence???

  11. I’m shocked at all of the refuse on that beach! I hope it all gets picked up somehow….

  12. Wow, I have a Dead Horse Beach near me in Salem, MA. At first I wondered how I could not have noticed bottles like that washed up but then realized it was elsewhere. What interesting treasures you could find there…

  13. Elizabeth Noone

    – and I was impressed with my harvest of 35 little shards of sea glass from Parson’s Beach in Maine…. That is an astounding site.

  14. Hello mudraker. I am a long time lover of your work and follower. I want to know if you’d like a free sponsor spot- an ad- on my page for a month. I just started taking sponsors and am asking a few places I love if they would like free ads for a month to get things going. I have two so far, an artist and a large blogsite.
    If so, give me an image with your blog name and i’ll add it to my page

    Thank you 🙂

  15. i know you said mudLARKER but i was makin a joke. hmm not funny if you have to explain 😉

  16. Wow. An absolute must I have to add to my list for when I make it to that side of the US some day. Amazing.

  17. I don’t know if this is fascinating or shocking.
    Of course it’s interesting for mudlarking (I like the word too :)) but it’s shocking how we pollute our planet.
    Impressive, crazy and shocking.

    by the way, you’re linked on my blog now. 🙂

    Greets from Switzerland

  18. I grew up in Brooklyn and sadly never even heard of this crazy place! Oh the treasures I could have dug up!!! Sigh…

  19. Have so enjoyed your blog! Love these photos. Mudlarking is a great word~much better than my previous “beach combing”!


  20. cécile

    Hello, I am french and I love all of your lovely creation. It’s very nice and original. I’m emazing about bottles in this place and as my english is very bad, l don’t understand all words in your post. I will following you again and appreciate your Arts. Grosses bises de France!!!

  21. There is a wonderful novel called The Love of Stones which has a section on Thames mudlarkers in the Victorian era. The book follows a jewel historian as she tries to trace one of Elizabeth Tudor’s brooches, and then also the brooch through history as it travels the world.
    The beaches near me on the West coast of Scotland throw up coral, but not much else. Our sand dunes, however, have ‘midden’ running through – the long-ago rotted refuse of pre-historic peoples. So we find the occasional prehistoric bone comb or awl, and sometimes pieces of iron and Viking boat rivets.

  22. I absolutely love dead horse bay–It’s one of my favorite places to visit, especially on a free weekday. As the saying goes “one man’s trash is another’s treasure,” and there certainly is a lot of treasure there!

  23. swingingfromthechandelier

    I soo want to’s my knida thing…what did ya find???

  24. Heavens to Betsy…..what a lot of bottles on that beach! It is almost overwhelming. But it is a treasure trove for an artist. I know a place which also has a lot of flotsam and jetsam…and perhaps it would be a good place to find some bottles for the limoncello which we are making. love, Beth

  25. Digging in the dirt for treasure (everyone defines “treasure” differently), well, it is like a therapy for me. I have loads of beautiful glass, iron, china pieces from digging. When my late husband was dealing with cancer, I would go and dig and sweat and think and dig…..debbie

  26. I gasped as I scanned down and saw the beach of bottles. I live in NZ and worry about our rubbish, but I have never seen anything like this. What is to become of our beautiful planet!

  27. Wow, look at all that awesome crusty stuff! I went mudlarking on the Thames last week, and I found so much wonderful stuff- but it didn’t hold a candle to Dead Horse Beach! I’ll have to put that on my places to go to if I ever visit the US. Here in Australia the beaches are very boring- it’s worth celebrating if you find one piece of sea glass, let alone one bottle!

  28. Oh, that looks like sooooooo much fun!
    I love going through old used broken stuff.
    ‘Mudlarking’. I’ve never heard that term, but i guess it’s sort of the same as ‘beachcombing’.

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