A tideline is the mark or line left by the tide when it retreats from its highest point. The artwork components appear like wrack washed up by the sea. The fashioning of shells common to shell middens into a spoon objects, suggest to the viewer the early attempts of Governor Phillip to ‘civilise’ some of the indigenous people his men captured.
Middens, the shell remains of seafood meals are visible marks of the indigenous habitation of Australia’s coastline reminding us of Aboriginal connection to country and its natural resources.
The porcelain spoons of blue clay with white sprigging are an appropriation of Josiah Wedgewood’s iconic Jasperware, which he developed in the 1770s. The porcelain detritus is composed of shell fragments and the leaves of Actinotus helianthi, the flannel flower, one of the species of flora collected by Banks (a good friend of Wedgewood) and Solander at Botany Bay in 1770.
*Interestingly, in 1788 Governor Phillip collected clay from the Sydney foreshore and exported it to his friend Sir Joseph Banks. Banks in turn, sent the clay samples to his friend, Josiah Wedgewood. In 1789, Wedgewood produced what is now known as The Sydney Cove Medallions in pale cream, brown and black. The colours reflected the different clay samples collected. These small narratives of historical interconnection speak of two very different attitudes to land and resources that still resonate within Australia today.