Margaret Dodd lives at Mimili Community on the APY Lands. Margaret’s country is associated with Ted’s Bore, near Sandy Bore (where she was born), about 20 kilometres from the Mimili Community.
Margaret has been creating beautiful baskets for Tjanpi for many years. Margaret’s artworks have a distinctive aesthetic – colourful striped vessels woven in a loose, organic style. Her daughter Sheena Dodd is also a celebrated weaver, renowned for her stunning sculptures – in particular, her birds.
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.