Marie Williams hates photographs. “I’m like an alien, made from parts from some other world”, she says.

She’s a country girl who went to school in a horse and cart, tending to her own sheep and chickens before and after class. But her capable hands can also weave magic.

Marie created the garment she’s wearing with local designer, Jean Bas. Theirs is a collaboration that has spanned more than thirty five years.

Marie represents the group of women at the heart of Jean Bas who have created iconic designs together in their always Newcastle-based ateliers.

Together they have whispered to the fabrics bending, folding, and weaving under their needle to pioneer an unexpected industry in what was always then-known as a coal-mining town with a steel works.

Today we celebrate the women of Jean Bas and Marie Williams as well as the creative evolution of Newcastle.

We thank Marie dearly for allowing all her living memories to submit to the stillness of this image that we have created together. To us, you’ll always look remarkable.

This portrait was created in collaboration with Marie Williams, Jean Bas Coffey, Victoria Baskin Coffey, Kevin Coffey and Hannah Robinson.

Words by Victoria Baskin Coffey.


We Are is a multi-location multimedia photographic experience highlighting creative women of Newcastle, commencing on Wednesday March 8th 2023 (International Women’s Day) and culminating in a celebration event at The Lock-Up on Friday March 24th.

We Are is a portrait project featuring 20 WH!P Collective members turning their lenses towards fellow female and non-binary creatives to highlight the many benefits that a thriving and diverse artistic community bring to our region.

WH!P (Women* of the Hunter !n Photography) was founded in 2020 to embrace and create opportunities for professional photographers from the Hunter region by leveraging the combined skills, experience and credentials of its members. Fostering a culture of support, celebration, exchange, education, advocacy, action, enjoyment, play and growth, it hopes to actively raise the profile of contemporary photographic excellence, education and experimentation in the Hunter Region. WH!P works collaboratively with those both within and beyond the local area who share our belief that the world should be shown through a lens as diverse as the real world.

*all references to women/woman is inclusive of gender diverse people

WH!P’s logos and graphics designed by Laura Kent

“I’m like an alien, made from parts from some other world”.

Marie Williams