Reception in support of artisan
Chair of artisan, Dr Chetana Andary and board members; Director, Mr Gavan Ranger; Curator and Deputy Director, Ms Cassandra Lehman; CEO, Ms Claire Sourgnes; artisan staff and supporters; ladies and gentlemen, welcome.
I begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we gather, the Turrbul and Jagera people, and pay my respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging. My respect extends to all First Nations people who join us this evening.
As patron of artisan, I, with my husband Graeme, are delighted to welcome you here this evening to celebrate the exceptional work that artisan has done as the peak body for craft and design in Queensland for half a century, and I thank the staff and Board for their tireless efforts over those many years to promote and support Queensland designers and makers.
Graeme and I are proud and privileged to be the current custodians of the marvellous Government House collection. It dates back to 1859 when the colony of Queensland was first proclaimed, and includes items imported from England to furnish the original Government House for our very first Governor, Sir George Bowen.
Because the subsequent 25 Governors added or acquired further craft items, the collection today is exceptionally varied and eclectic, ranging from the two carved wooden Aurukun camp dogs who stand guard outside the door of my Study, to two of the card tables in this room which were part of the original consignments of furniture in the 1860s.
But, of the many other items in the House, it is the Dining Suite of which we are most proud because it exemplifies the development of the crafts in Queensland.
The large table and its 24 chairs were all made here in Brisbane in 1896 by the craftsmen of John Hicks and Company, using yellowwood sawn from trees felled in the Border Ranges. Each chair features a carved frieze of fruits and vegetables – even a pineapple! It’s a cornucopia created by local craftsmen to represent the productivity of the new Colony.
With such strong historic roots, it is not surprising that, despite changes in fashion and lifestyle, interest in the crafts has remained strong in Queensland – and there’s ample evidence of this in artisan’s diverse program of exhibitions and events, and in workshops that run the full gamut from lacemaking to carving a wooden spoon.
The principles and ideals of the Arts and Crafts Movement a century ago still inspire thousands of makers today. Whether they are professional craftworkers or hobbyists, and whatever their chosen medium, they share a fundamental belief in the value and importance of quality craftsmanship and good design. It is that belief that brings beauty, meaning and a sense of wellbeing into our everyday lives – and for that, we can all be grateful.
I am also grateful, for the request from artisan, at my first patronage meeting with the leadership team via video conference earlier this year, to provide a display space for artisan craft objects here at Fernberg.
I was so pleased to agree to this request. A display of contemporary craft is a perfect complement to the many hundreds of historic craft items in the Government House collection and provides a novel and engaging way to demonstrate the continuous development of crafts in Queensland since colonial times.
I am therefore delighted to launch the artisan display, prominently on show in the foyer of Government House. Thank you to artists from the One of Twelve organisation, and Mari Hirata, Tom Summers, Megan Puls, Liz Izquierdo and Shimara Carlow for your unique works, which will be enjoyed by the many visitors to Government House each year. Thank you to the team from artisan for your curation of the display.
It is also my great pleasure to present a Certificate of Vice-Regal Patronage to the Chair of artisan, Dr Chetana Andary, to express my commitment to ongoing support for this outstanding Queensland organisation.