Helen Samson

Cuppatea Basket

Baskets are made by Martu women who live in communities to the east of Newman, including Punmu, Kunawarritji, Parnngurr and Jigalong, as well as in Newman, Parnpajinya and Irrungadji (Nullagine). This style of coiled basketry was developed in the Western Desert in the 1990s and taken up by Martu women around 1999. Leading Martu fibre arts practitioner Nola Taylor says that basket weaving was so popular amongst Martu women that it” spread across the desert like a waru (fire)”. The baskets are primarily made from minarri grass (Amphipogon caricinus), which the women collect when they travel across their homelands to visit family, attend ceremonies, look after country and gather bush tucker. Each basket is built up through wrapping fine bundles of grass in brightly coloured wool and then stitching each round on to the previous one. Martu women have developed a distinctive style of basketry and individual artists continue to develop new designs and incorporate novel materials (including steel, wire and wood) into their work.

Medium: Acrylic, wool, panikin cups, mugs
Size: Dimensions variable
Region: Pilbara, Martumilli