Ann’s family is from the Wingellina (Irrinytju) Community and she was born in the Pitjantjatjara Lands in South Australia. She spent her early childhood on the Pitjantjatjara Lands and moved to Warburton in Western Australia where she received her education. She moved to Alice Springs in 1974 and has lived there since. Ann has four older daughters and three sons and has taught all her daughters to weave and paint, their works reflect their mother’s creative influence.
Ann collects and dyes her own grasses that she finds locally in the Alice Springs area. Ann has a deep knowledge of the different grasses and creek roots and their uses for weaving. She experiments with colours and is inspired by the techniques of the Yolngu women of the Northern Territory. Her works are beautiful unique and collectible pieces and signal a new direction for Tjanpi Desert Weavers.
Tjanpi (meaning ‘dry grass’) evolved from a series of basket weaving workshops held on remote communities in the Western Desert by the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunyjatjara Women’s Council in 1995. Building on traditions of using fibre for medicinal, ceremonial and daily purposes, women took easily to making coiled baskets. These new-found skills were shared with relations on neighbouring communities and weaving quickly spread. Today over 400 women across 28 communities are making baskets and sculptures out of grass and working with fibre in this way is firmly embedded in Western and Central desert culture. While out collecting desert grasses for their fibre art, women visit sacred sites and traditional homelands, hunt and gather food for their families and teach their children about country.
Tjanpi Desert Weavers is Aboriginal owned and is governed by Aboriginal directors. It is an arts business but also a social enterprise that provides numerous social and cultural benefits and services to weavers and their families. Tjanpi’s philosophy is to keep culture strong, maintain links with country and provide meaningful employment to the keepers and teachers of the desert weaving business.