Meet the female powerhouse team

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Meet the women behind artisan, the home of craft and design Queensland.

Meet the amazing team at artisan, led by Claire Sourgnes, CEO. artisan share, celebrate and offer advocacy for Australian practitioners with exhibitions, events, workshops, and the artisan store. artisan enriches cultural life in Queensland by harnessing creative and commercial opportunities, and collaborates with organisations, businesses and the broader community.

From L to R: Ellie Anderson, Claire Sourgnes, Leah Emery, Cassandra Lehman, Fauzia Harumi

What does International Women’s Day mean to the women of artisan?

IWD is a great marker for the strength of womanhood; a day in the year to reflect on all that women have survived, changed, and will continue change. Sadly, we know historically woman have not had equal opportunities within the arts, craft and design sector, and equal pay and gender representation are still not at parity. Women outnumber men in art schools, yet they are dramatically underrepresented and undervalued in the arts sector. artisan strives to represent and advocate for all craft and design practitioners, especially women.

Often, at artisan, we find ourselves in the weird ill-defined space between ‘hard art’ and ‘women’s work’; ‘Hard art’ being the work of mostly male artists, sanctioned by big galleries and museums (particularly sculpture and painting.)  There’s an unstated bias towards this which we strive to rise above by presenting skillful and meaningful work from creative practitioners who use a much broader range of skills and materials. These practitioners are often women. In the last few years we have exhibited Indigenous fashion, performance jewellery, conceptual lace, a knitted mermaid skin, intricately perforated buffalo hide, a hand sewn house, and a range of interpretations of the surgical mask. The list goes on. It is never boring…and just like a woman’s work, there’s always more!

What excites the women of artisan?

Cheese! Good quality artisanal cheese! And fluffy bathtubs 😋!

How do the women of artisan balance their work / life responsibilities?

Women have the expectation to be good multi-taskers, which we now know is the ‘mental load’, which is life responsibilities that disproportionately falls to women.  The majority of the artisan team are women, so we strive to support, motivate, and uplift each other. We do our best to juggle all our work and life commitments. We like to keep all our balls in the air 😊!

What has been artisan’s biggest achievements?

In 2020 artisan turned 50, which was an exciting milestone and achievement for the organisation.  This birthday was also coupled with a very disruptive 2020 when COVID hit. Despite all the closures in 2020, artisan delivered 11 exhibitions in its gallery spaces, plus 1 online exhibition and 1 touring exhibition.  We grew our exhibition space, opening our Machinery Street Gallery thanks to our precinct partners, Lendlease. We ran a bunch of sold-out workshops in a socially-distanced world, artisan also launched its online store in addition to continuing its support for local makers in our retail store on King Street!  

What do the women of artisan love most about King Street?

Kuhl-Cher Coffee, we love you George!  And, the dogs of King St…and the people they walk!

To find out more about artisan's current exhibitions and workshops, visit their website here

Published: 4 March 2021