June Smith is a Gooniyandi woman from the Bayulu community near Fitzroy Crossing and has been an integral force in building the Marnin Studio enterprise.
June is engaged with the Studio on a weekly basis and said:
‘A long time ago I worked at Go Go Station as a teacher’s aid, teaching sewing to grade one students with some old people. This was my first job. I’ve worked at the Bayulu Store and as a cook for a while for the old people. I first started working on screen-printing with a few other ladies in Bayulu many years ago. I came to work at Marnin Studio to practice my sewing and create designs.’
She also explained that she likes working at Marnin Studio because she can relax and ease her mind to do the things that she loves. It June continued:
‘I feel happy with all the women around here and getting creative. We’re real proud to have our own little business, in our own little way and proud to be sharing that with people from other places. I would love to see more women coming to be involved, especially the younger girls.’
Nita Williams is a Wangkatjangka woman from Junjuwa community near Fitzroy Crossing.
Her mother and grandmother came from the Great Sandy Desert and her mother is a well-known painter at Mangkaja Arts in Fitzroy Crossing. In 2006, Nita was working at home on the veranda making baskets when CEO June Oscar drove past, stopped the car and got out to take a look. ‘They look really good’, she said. ‘Can you come to the Women’s Resource Centre and show the ladies how to make baskets?’ Nita agreed and has been running workshops for the local women ever since.
Nita is an entrepreneur and a true artist. She has turned her attention to many things including painting boab nuts, weaving baskets and block printing.
Nita has also developed into a great advocate for the program, refining her speaking skills and building confidence with each new customer and radio interview. She has encouraged women to join the program, sat with women to show them how to weave and paint and in 2017, she will step into a new role, teaching workshops to tourists.