Janice is part of the new generation of Tjanpi Desert Weavers. She began weaving during a Tjanpi Desert Weavers collaboration Collaboration with Ernabella Arts. Janice was already learning to decorate ceramic work in the clay studio and assisted to create small impressed clay bases for the young women to weave into.
Janet now has her first baby and in tjanpi workshops there is often a race on to get her tjanpi weaving finished before her baby gets cranky. Janet finds she is able to breast feed while creating her tjanpi and her tenacity to make it all work means she will become a wonderful weaver with good skills to support the wellbeing of her family.
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.