Art can be a lonely business — hours spent alone crafting jewellery, sculptures, clothing, paintings and other passion projects, often without connection to an audience or a community of like-minded individuals.
Little wonder so many give up. But a new event at Tugun Progress Hall aims to overcome that problem.
Hand Designed enables local female crafters to showcase their work amongst like-minded individuals who are looking to earn another income and develop business skills.
The idea came when event organiser Amanda Spooner met with a local jeweller and realised there were many female creators in the Tugun area lacking confidence or a platform to exhibit their work.
The first exhibition was held in August and is expected to return every two months.
“(The event) was extremely positive, well supported by the community with a lot of positive feedback. I believe this has really wonderful legs to grow,” Ms Spooner said.
Besides an exhibition space, Hand Designed also offers night courses in digital marketing.
“We can offer them (exhibitors) ongoing business support and the chance to become involved in business and digital workshops. We subsidise that cost for them and they can learn how to promote their business online,” Ms Spooner said.
“With women often being the secondary income earners, this allows them the chance to work on their craft at home and use that as another source of income.”
The new program is supported by Connect Southern Gold Coast, a council-funded organisation that enables community-building activities.
Connect Sales Manager Catherine Gledhill said it made sense to teach people to market their crafts more effectively.
“Our workshops are held in our offices in The Strand. The 2-hour digital marketing is offered for $55, which is heavily subsidised by us,” Ms Gledhill said.
“At the end of the workshop, they can earn a cert 4 in Business Management through TAFE Queensland. That too, is heavily subsidised by Connect and only costs $99 to join.”
The regular exhibitions are free events, and quite unlike other craft fairs on the Gold Coast.
“It is very intimate and in a different space to your normal, outdoor craft markets,” Ms Gledhill said.
“Hand Designed is held in a beautiful historical building which is glittering with fairy lights, music, bubbles, wine and cheese platters for guests on arrival.”
The next event is likely to be held in mid-October. For more information, contact Amanda Spooner on firstname.lastname@example.org