The tide bequeaths
Seagrass balls and cotton thread
I have always been intrigued by the brown fibre balls that wash up on Middleton Beach, but until this project I but didn’t know what they were. My research for this exhibition revealed that they are formed from the shredded leaf sheaths of seagrass, and as they roll along the seafloor they collect and remove plastic pollution.
In my efforts to find out more about the local impact of seagrass and plastic pollution, I contacted marine scientists Dr Jenny Shaw and Dr Harriet Paterson. The balls that wash up on Middleton Beach are from seagrass called Posidonia australis, a species which grows in the southern waters of Australia. I also gained insight into the effect of plastic pollution on our local marine life:
After much experimentation, I chose to create a work which ensured the natural aesthetic of the seagrass ball was not overshadowed by my intervention. The act of stitching and adorning each individual ball was my way of honouring these little gifts that wash up on our shores.
Photo 1. Stitched seagrass balls
Photo 2. Seagrass ball wrapped in twine
Photo 3. Experimenting with configuration
Photo 4. Pages from sketchbook
Jo Wassell’s practice is inspired by her immediate environment: people, places, stories and memories. She has been a member of MIX Artists Inc since 2018 and was awarded the Great Southern Art Award in 2021 and was Highly Commended in the 2022 South West Art Now exhibition at Bunbury Regional Art Gallery.