Tjanpi Desert Weavers is a social enterprise of the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Women’s Council, working with women in the remote Central and Western desert regions who earn an income from contemporary fibre art. Tjanpi (meaning grass in Pitjantjatjara language) represents over 400 Anangu/Yarnangu women artists from 26 remote communities on the NPY lands.
Tjanpi artists use native grasses to make spectacular contemporary fibre art, weaving beautiful baskets and sculptures and displaying endless creativity and inventiveness. Originally developing from the traditional practice of making manguri rings, working with fibre in this way has become a fundamental part of Central and Western desert culture.
Material: Tjanpi (grass), raffia
Dimensions: L35cm x W10cm x H18cm
About the Maker: Joyce James is an artist belonging to the Ngaanyatjarra language and cultural group and lives in the remote community of Warakurna, Western Australia.
Born in Laverton WA, Joyce spent her childhood between Kaltukatjara (Docker River) in the Northern Territory and Warakurna. Joyce grew up watching her grandmothers, Tjuakpati James and Mrs Newberry, making Tjanpi. She is now married to the son of senior Tjanpi artist Dianne Golding and has been making Tjanpi baskets and sculptures since 2018.
Joyce has a natural talent and design ﬂair for making sculptural works. She has already had her work exhibited as part of Koskela's Ngalya/Together anniversary lampshade exhibition, which showed at Tarnanthi 2019, and contributed to a number of high-proﬁle exhibition works in 2020.
Joyce says that she loves making Tjanpi artworks because when she is busy creating, she feels calm and relaxed. Joyce is also teaching her young daughter Charlotie how to make sculptural works, continuing the tradition of learning from family.
Photos: Tjanpi Desert Weavers
Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre acknowledges the Ngunnawal people as the traditional custodians of the ACT and surrounding areas. We honour and respect their ongoing cultural and spiritual connections to this country and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region. We aim to respect cultural heritage, customs and beliefs of all Indigenous people.