Artist Sandrine Moser recently opened Studio Artisane, a business designed to break down stereotypes and gender barriers in the world of power tools.

BRUNSWICK — Sandrine Moser has taken it upon herself to redefine stereotypes, one power tool at a time. Moser recently launched her business, Studio Artisane, as a way of teaching classes designed to build confidence and break down barriers with a certain je ne sais quoi that is characteristic of her French heritage.

Necessity motivated Moser to start teaching herself the tools of the trade after a house fire. She lived in a rural mountain town in California with her family when her house burned down, after which she struggled to find contractors who were willing to travel to her remote location. Moser refused to accept defeat—and very badly wanted a dishwasher—and jumped at the opportunity to tackle a new challenge. She successfully installed a dishwasher and began to develop her skills in home improvement projects, including flooring and trim. After that, Moser began building furniture for her daughter’s American Dolls collection and then decided to take her do-it-yourself approach to the next level.

Moser’s inspiration for Studio Artisane began with friends who admired her craftsmanship and expressed their desire to learn the art of building something from nothing. Each class focuses on a specific project, which vary but generally include small pieces of wooden furniture. She begins each class with a discussion about safety and the proper techniques for using and handling power tools. Participants learn how to read and understand a plan from beginning to end, which Moser said is an intellectual exercise in your mind, if you’ve never done it. The challenge is to envision the project and see how each step is connected, while understanding the conception of it—similar in nature to building with Legos. Moser strives to ensure that participants are comfortable and confident in their ability to think outside the box while using power tools to channel their creativity.

“The classes are really about the power tools. After you build one thing, you can build anything. Power tools are scary for a lot of people. There’s a big physical fear. If they can overcome that fear, it can be applied to anything else,” Moser said.

She uses power tools to empower individuals and explore their creativity beyond their comfort zone. Moser said she hopes her classes will encourage people, especially women, to not wait for somebody to do something and just tackle it. Most of her students come to class with a specific purpose in mind and are from diverse backgrounds. There are retired corporate executives wanting to try something new, young entrepreneurs building shelves for a retail space and mothers and daughters learning to work together on a project.

Moser enjoys the camaraderie that develops among her students, which she said creates links in the community, and she’s thrilled with the prospect that students are stronger than when class first started. She enthusiastically shares her passion for the creative process and encourages participants to design and build their own furniture independently, after having gained confidence and technical skills in her classes.

Although most of her classes focus on empowering adults, Moser also values the importance of teaching children and incorporates this into Studio Artisane. She teaches hands-on arts and crafts classes for children, as well as French language classes, and she hopes to include more small building projects for children in the future.

Moser acknowledges that some careers are still very traditional with regard to gender—the majority of school teachers are women and the majority of carpenters are men, for example—and she feels that it’s important for the next generation of girls to pursue new experiences as a way of opening their minds to anything they want to do. Moser hopes to encourage children to develop a sense of creativity that will be relevant in our rapidly changing world; technology and the evolving job market will force the next generation to diversify their skills and adapt accordingly.

“There are some jobs that are really going to disappear, and we should prepare kids to be creative,” she said.

Moser looks forward to empowering more individuals in the future with her classes and is eager to expand her offerings. She feels strongly about using power tools and the creative process to encourage individuals to step out of their comfort zone and break down barriers that are associated with traditional gender roles. Moser will pursue the challenge of redefining the concept of do-it-yourself while going beyond her own comfort zone to build her business, reach a larger audience and connect with more individuals.

“It’s nice to empower people to say ‘I can do this.’ I don’t need anybody else to do it. I just like building,” Moser said. “I like seeing other people building.”

For more information, email Moser at [email protected]

Kelli Park can be reached at [email protected]

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