Glenda Christina Nicholls was born on the verandah of the Swan Hill District Hospital in Wemba Wemba country. She is multi-clanned and recognises her Waddi Waddi/Yorta Yorta and Ngarrindjeri descendants.
Glenda’s aboriginal name is Jule Yarra Minj which means Little River Girl and her totem is the Writcharuki (willy-willy wagtail), a totem of the great Ngarrinjeri nation.
Nicholl’s craft reflects the continuity of her family storyline: the story of her elders and ancestors and the connection between the past and present. As the years flow on, Nichols learns more about net making and using that knowledge to create artwork in different forms whilst also building on her skills of basketry. Weaving is Nicholls’ connection to country.
During her childhood, Nicholls watched her mother and grandmother crochet, knit, sew and work on traditional crafts such as feathercraft and weaving using suitable plants found around the local area. Her parents and grandparents encouraged us to sit, watch, listen and learn by example. Camping and fishing the local waterways was, and still is, a big part of her lifestyle. It was schooling at its best with cultural knowledge of the water and waterways, local plants and habitat taught by elders.
After moving to Mackay, Queensland, Nicholls wrote a biography which won a Black Ink Press award. This led to her autobiography, River Girl, being published in 2005.
In 2012 Nicholls won two awards in the Victorian Indigenous Arts Awards with her Ochre Net which has continued to inspire her. Her work Throw Net was shortlisted in the 2013 Victorian Indigenous Arts Awards and some of her net pieces and baskets were exhibited in Melbourne galleries. Nicholls returned to Mackay in 2014 and continued weaving and researching information about Aboriginal women, fishing and net-making. Nicholls believes that it is important to continue practicing crafts’ and that we must realize the importance of passing this information on to our children.
Nicholls’ work A Woman’s Rite of Passage was recently shortlisted for the 2015 Victorian Indigenous Arts Awards.