Polly was born in the bush in 1957 at a soak called Yulpigari, close to Partupirri (Bunglebiddy rockhole), near Tjukurla community in Western Australia. She now lives in the remote community of Warakurna, Western Australia, located approximately 1700 km north east of Perth. Polly is a widower with two grown-up sons: Craig and Sweeny Jackson. Polly enjoys spending her time painting at Warakurna Artists art centre and basket weaving whilst helping look after her grandsons.
Polly is an experienced basket weaver and sculptor, and her work is characterised by the use of bright wool and raffia tightly wrapped and stitched. In her sculpting work Polly focuses on animal themes, depicting tinkas (goannas) and papas (dogs).
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. Tjanpi is 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.