Basket (Elaine James)
Basket (Elaine James)

Basket (Elaine James)

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Material: Tjanpi (grass), wool, raffia

Dimensions: D20cm x H6cm

About the Maker: Born in Kaltukatjara (Docker River), Northern Territory in 1972, Elaine spent her early years in this area, travelling around with her parents, from whom she learnt about her Pitjantjatjara culture, heritage and language. Elaine later went to school in Kaltukatjara, where she learnt her second language, English.

With her formal education completed, Elaine married and raised two daughters, passing on to them the knowledge her parents taught her.
Elaine began making baskets and sculptures in 2014, after watching relatives and renowned Tjanpi artists Tjukaparti and Ruby James working. Elaine enjoys working primarily in wool and likes making tinka (goanna), planes and even fish. She says that she does Tjanpi “because it makes me feel happy”.

Meet the Group: Tjanpi Desert Weavers, a signatory to the Indigenous Art Code, is a dynamic social enterprise of the NPY Women's council. Tjanpi (meaning 'dry grass') supports Aboriginal women living in remote Central and Western desert communities to create contemporary fibre art.

When collecting desert grasses (minarri, wangurnu and yilintji), women visit sacred sites and traditional homelands, hunt and gather food for their families, and teach children about country. Grass is bound with wool, string or raffia and combined with yinirnti (red seeds of the bat-wing coral tree) and wipiya (emu feathers).

Photos: Tjanpi Desert Weavers