About Seagrass Relics - Hawkins Court Studio

About Seagrass Relics

Native Americans first came to the Florida peninsula about 14,000 years ago. Though their written history only began when Juan Ponce de Leon arrived in 1513, tribes like the Calusa learned to survive on the abundance provided by the waters of Southwest Florida. This readily available food source allowed them time to develop a centralized government, construct a canal system and create many art forms.

By 1800 the Calusa culture had fallen victim to the Europeans and their diseases. Not much left, just some shell items, including jewelry and mounds where their cities once stood. But, there is probably more that hasn’t been found yet.

Seagrass Relics are my imagined archeological finds from the Calusa civilization. Walking on the beach, I see erosion revealing sections of dunes that have been covered for generations and imagine remnants of ancient fishing camps unearthed by that erosion. Excavation reveals complex mats and household items, woven from seagrass, moss and feathers. They are utilitarian, but also highly decorative. Though many are deteriorated and show signs of wear, they still reveal images from the natural world and from the lives of the people who wove them. I have given the relics names describing what I see. The images probably had very different meanings reflecting the imaginations of the people who made them.

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