Welcome to the Journal of Mudlark + Tempest

This Journal is a place to find anecdotes, stories, and other bits about the creation of Mudlark and Tempest and the colours, art, Suffolk, interiors and exteriors, architecture, textiles, nature, the weather, and whatever else catches our fancy.

Starting with our colour range, inspired by the land, sea and sky of Suffolk. Our name reflects this: Mudlark, a term used for those who scoured the banks of the Thames for objects of values, particularly in the 18th and 19th c; and Tempest, a dramatic stormy wind, derived from the Latin tempestas, meaning season, weather or storm.

Mudlarking happens at the edge of land and water, between mud flats and estuary rippling water or shingle full of sea kale and crashing North Sea waves. Nearby land may be marshy reed beds or boggy bits where samphire flourishes in brackish water. Close observation of the ground beneath your feet is a major part of this – tiny objects half buried in sand or shingle or mud, the smallest indication of a button, a clay pipe or a coin to catch the eye.

While a tempest is normally considered a storm, experiencing a storm along a coast expands the point of view – sweeping glances across water to distant cliffs, clouds scudding rapidly across the big sky, blown by strong winds, churning surf roiling sand into the brown soup of the North Sea – all these draw the eye outwards and upwards. The ever-changing weather alters the appearance of the Suffolk sea and sky.

Therefore it seemed natural to gather colours from all these sources, starting with warm colours, looking down to the land and its brownish sandy hues, followed by greenish lichen-like colours of marsh plants, then to the greyish-brownish tones of the mudflats. Turning to cloud reflections in estuary mud, the colours turn a bluer-grey tone, then towards the sea with greenish blue colours, ending with the greyish blue of a stormy sky, all cool colours.

The colours have been carefully grouped by family (or colour) and by value (or the lightness/darkness scale). The collection is arranged so all the colours work together, balanced by way of saturation, or how strong the colour is, regardless of their value or hue. Some colour combinations are very subtle and nuanced, for example, by composing a selection of the very lightest colours – all the 117 numbers, or a selection of midtones – all the 317 numbers. Even using all the darkest colours in a scheme would be subtle and dynamic. It would be dramatic to boldly use light warm colours with dark cool colours or the opposite.