Tjanpi Desert Weavers
Tjanpi (grass) with raffia and wool
L 50cm x W 14cm x H 18cm
“With Tjanpi, we source our materials by going bush and collecting Tjanpi and this also involves getting bush medicines. Tjanpi involves bush trips which other work doesn’t. Sometimes we go out for tjarla (honey ants).”
Dorcas learnt weaving from family at Tjukurla community. In particular, her aunty Annie Farmer and older sister Pirrmangka Reid who are both well-known basket weavers. Dorcas says “I like to do Tjanpi work. I used to just make baskets but now I make animals as well. I use the same grass but in a different way. I like to mix up different coloured wools and raffia when I make baskets, like the different colours in the bush.” Of a dog she made in 2007, she said “This papa is Yilpangi from my mother’s country. That white tjukurpa dog sits down there.” Dorcas is currently an executive member on the boards of both Desart and Warakurna Atists. Along with being an exceptional and recognised fibre artist, Dorcas is also a respected painter having been represented by Warakurna Artists since 2006.
Dorcas was born in 1956 and is the daughter of Nyurupayia Nampitjinpa (Mrs Bennett), a senior artist for Papunya Tula Artists. She was born at Wurturu rockhole near Kaltukatjarra (Docker River). After Dorcas was born her mother and father walked to Warburton Mission where she was given her English name by the missionary Will Wade. Dorcas grew up and completed her schooling in the Docker River Settlement. She later married Ivan Shepherd (deceased) and now lives in Warakurna Community. Reknowned for her hunting skills, especially for goannas, Dorcas loves to be on her country.