Thursday, July 8, 2010

New Tjanpi baskets in store

Hi readers!

It’s Pen here - I haven’t been in to work for a few days, and when I came back we had a whole range of new stock! It’s always lovely coming to the store and finding new treasures, but I was particularly taken by our new range of Tjanpi Baskets!

Tjanpi (pronounced: J-um-Py) is a collective managed by the Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council. It is an organisation completely governed and owned by Aboriginal people, and all profits from the baskets are used to sustain Tjanpi Desert Weavers. Based in the heart of Australia (Central Western desert region) Tjanpi is an employment opportunity for local women passionate about weaving. This employment program is special because it provides income whilst embracing local cultural activities.

“While out collecting grass women take time to hunt, gather food, visit sacred sites and teach their children about country. At its core Tjanpi is about family and community. It is work that more than accommodates social and cultural obligations, it encourages them.”

I love Tjanpi baskets because each one is so unique. Textures, colours, form and weave all vary greatly depending on the making and aesthetic style of the artist. Some are quite subdued in earthy tones often ornamented with emu or bush turkey feathers. Others are quite outstanding in the use of pinks, yellows, greens and blue dyed grasses! Each work has a life and personality/vitality of its own and visitors will often find themselves drawn to a particular basket.

At home, they look beautiful on a shelf with other treasures - My favourite basket sits next to a very special glass piece in my living room. The warm yellow hues in the glass glow next to the natural tones of the grasses and raffia used in the basket.

But they can also be very practical. Some of the flatter dish-like pieces make great places to keep jewellery on your bed side table. (...and won’t scratch because they are made of lovely soft grasses!) If you are looking for a wall feature, these baskets look great hung in groups by small hooks.

These baskets never stick around long at Collect, and most are under $35 each, so as soon as word gets out they go flying off the shelves! I recommend popping in and checking out the new collection. You won’t be disappointed!

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