Harriet was born in Amata and came to Mimili with her Husband. She has three children with him. She learned to make tjanpi by watching her Aunty Julie Yangki, and decided she would like to try it herself. She started her tjanpi weaving making a beautiful dog. Harriet says she has a big mob of little dogs and that she made a shaggy grey dog that looks just like her pets. He is sitting and asking for something, a little scrap to share of her dinner. Harriet also works as an Arts worker for Mimili Maku Arts, and we think she has a shining future as an Artist.
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 directed by an Aboriginal executive. 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.