Our Team – Cape Breton Centre for Craft & Design

Our Team

The passion and dedication that underlies the creation of craft can also be found in the offices of Cape Breton Centre for Craft & Design.

Here, a small but mighty team with a diverse range of skills, united by a love of Cape Breton craft and a fierce commitment to its preservation and cultivation, implements the Centre’s programs and services on a daily basis.

Lori Burke

Executive Director

902 539 7491 ext 113

Lori’s work with the Centre began in the winter of 2009 as Marketing Manager where she worked with Centre staff to build the profile of the organization and the Cape Breton craft sector.

Now as Executive Director, Lori plans to continue to make Cape Breton Centre for Craft & Design and the Cape Breton craft sector globally known.

After 3+ years of experimenting with a variety of craft courses and workshops, Lori has accepted that she is a “collector” rather than a maker…which is probably better for the creative economy anyway!

Diane Campbell

General Manager

902 539 7491 ext 112

Diane joined the staff of the Cape Breton Centre for Craft & Design back in 1989 when it was still known as the Cape Breton School of Crafts. Her job has evolved greatly over the years and as a long time employee, her duties are varied and include committee work, financial responsibilities, organizing courses and workshops and supporting other staff in the day to day operation of the Centre. It is often said that Diane is the glue that holds all the different departments of the Centre together.

Working in a not for profit organization has its challenges, but the biggest pleasure Diane gets from her job is the daily interaction with the many people who visit the Centre. The members, the volunteers and the other staff make coming to work every day a pleasure. Their dedication and commitment to the organization is inspiring.

When the 9 to 5 day is through, Diane can most often be found weaving at her loom. However, as an aspiring knitter, occasionally she can be found mumbling and fumbling with a pair of knitting needles and a ball of yarn.


Tammy Sophocleous-MacDonald

Craft Education & Membership Coordinator

902 539 7491 ext 111

Tammy Sophocleous-MacDonald began working for Cape Breton Centre for Craft & Design in 2007 following her Business & Information Technologies course at NSCC. Over the course of her fifteen years with the organization she has worked tirelessly to support the robust network of jewellers, beaders, rug hookers, ceramicists and visual artists who frequent the studios for classes and workshops – eventually, the title of Craft Education & Membership Coordinator was created to communicate her expertise more clearly. Additionally, Sophocleous-MacDonald supports the registration for camps and classes, ensuring the continued financial support for local makers through the Centre’s paid programs, and personally establishing meaningful connections with members and volunteers.  

Her extensive experience makes Sophocleous-MacDonald uniquely able to anticipate the needs and requirements of the sizable and enthusiastic local craft community.  

Elizabeth Slaunwhite

Marketing Manager

902 539 7491 ext 117

Elizabeth joined the team at Cape Breton Centre for Craft & Design in 2013 after completing the Master of Public Relations program at Mount Saint Vincent University. Previous to that, Elizabeth graduated from the Mount with a Bachelor of Public Relations and Certificate in Marketing.

Elizabeth appreciates the creativity, dedication, and hard work demonstrated by the artisans that are represented in the Gallery Shop, in addition to the artisan studios around our beautiful island. As Marketing Manager, Elizabeth aims to promote the profile and prominence of the Cape Breton craft industry – not only locally, but also regionally, nationally and internationally.

Cassie MacDonald

Craft Retail Supervisor

902 270 7491

As the Craft Retail Supervisor, Cassie works closely with the talented artists on our beautiful island, Cape Breton, and manages the Gallery Shop in Downtown Sydney. She is a visual artist and musician with a background in retail and customer service. A graduate of Dalhousie University and a student of NSCAD University, Cassie is always on the journey of education.

Originally from New Waterford, Cassie spent the last 20 years between Halifax and Toronto. Fun fact – if you’re familiar with New Waterford via the Canadian independent film, New Waterford Girl, you’re familiar with Cassie too! She played the role of Darlene Pottie. Outside of the Gallery Shop, Cassie can be found playing music with her band, Cassie Josephine & the Cry If I Want To’s, as well as painting in her home studio. Cassie loves abstract portraiture and painting with her mom.

Vicki Clough

Residencies & Creative Entrepreneurship Coordinator

902 539 7491 ext 116

Most recently from Toronto and with a background in Craft, Curation and Public Programming, Vicki brings a range of experience to the team in the Artist Residency Coordinator role. Prior to her Master of Fine Arts in Criticism and Curatorial Practice at the Ontario College of Art and Design University, Vicki completed her Textiles degree at Galway Mayo Institute of Technology in Ireland with a focus on embroidery, but she’s always wanted to master lacemaking.

Vicki has been crafty from a young age, learning from her grandparents and parents. She is a strong advocate for artists and is excited to work in such a creative community, which will also hopefully motivate her to once again pick up her embroidery and tatting needles.

Bailee Higgins

Outreach Program Coordinator

Bailee Higgins (she/her) is a visual artist and art educator with a passion for community-based work. As an artist, Bailee mainly works in drawing and painting. Bailee joined the team at Cape Breton Centre For Craft & Design after completing the Master of Arts in Art Education program from NSCAD University and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Mount Allison University. She is currently enrolled in the Bachelors of Education at Cape Breton University with a focus on visual art.

As Outreach Programming Coordinator, Bailee works collaboratively with Centre staff and local partners to develop craft educational programming island wide and oversees the culture exchange program for the 2023 season.

Kayla Rudderham

Emerging Indigenous Curator

Kayla Rudderham (she/they) is a Mi’kmaw and settler artist, educator, and independent curator. Kayla joined the team at Cape Breton Centre for Craft & Design after completing the Master of Arts in Art Education program from NSCAD University. Previous to that, Kayla graduated from NSCAD University with a Bachelor of Fine Art, and from Mount Saint Vincent University with a Bachelor of Education.

Kayla has an interest in contributing to the elevation, enhancement, and preservation of traditional L’nu art practices as well as encouraging engagement between all communities and their material culture. The past, present and future, interconnectivity, and radical acts of care influence Kayla’s curatorial practice. As an artist, Kayla mainly works in drawing, printmaking, and beadwork, which she uses to explore Mi’kmaw language reclamation, acts of remembrance, and the impacts of colonialism on climate.

As Emerging Indigenous Curator, Kayla works collaboratively with Centre staff and local partners to develop exhibitions and arts-based programming, as well as facilitate community outreach.

In her free time, Kayla enjoys spending time with her cats, and baking.

Bhreanna Ryan

Marketing Coordinator

Bhreanna (she/her) is a graduate of Cape Breton University’s Business Administration program, with a major in marketing. After finishing her degree, Bhreanna spent the next three years in Halifax gaining valuable experience in the marketing industry. She has recently moved back to the island and has been actively involved in the Unama’ki’ Cape Breton small business community since returning.

As Marketing Coordinator, Bhreanna aims to contribute to the growth and awareness of the impressive craft industry we have on this beautiful island.

Rhonda Ferguson

Director of Research

Rhonda Ferguson works at the intersection of craft, agriculture, and social justice research. She joined Cape Breton Centre for Craft & Design to explore small-scale wool and fibre production in Unama’ki and her research interests include food and material security, producer livelihoods, localization, and their implications for craft, particularly, textile and fibre-based craft.

Rhonda was born on “where the three roads meet” in N’Swakamok (Sudbury). She has a doctoral degree in International Human Rights Law (Irish Centre for Human Rights at Ollscoil na Gaillimhe) and a Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Humanities (Laurentian University). Her academic work has focused on socio-economic rights, small-scale farming, and trade through critical theoretical lenses. Her creative interests are nurtured through ongoing learning at NSCAD (Textiles) and previously, OCAD (Material Art and Design: Textiles).


Alistair Cusack

Sustainable Craft Coordinator

Al Cusack (he/they) has lived across Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in the unceded territories of the Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqiyik, and Peskotomuhkati nations. After growing up visiting family in Unama’ki – Cape Breton during holidays, Al moved to the island himself in the summer of 2023 to join the team at the Centre as the Sustainable Craft Coordinator.

Al graduated with a BA in Sociology and Human Rights from St. Thomas University in 2020. During his time in Fredericton, Al was actively involved in the indie arts scene as both an artist and organizer. He has travelled coast-to-coast leading workshops on creative writing and zine making. His most rewarding experiences have been creating spaces for 2SLGBTQIA+ youth to express themselves and share their experiences.

When it comes to his own creative practice, Al considers himself a jack of all trades, with a lifelong love of learning and an overflowing home art station. Some media he’s dabbled in include acrylic markers, felting, and jewelry making. Mixed media projects will always be his favourites.


Merrideth MacDonald

Gallery Shop Assistant


Merrideth has been working part time in Cape Breton’s craft sector for almost 25 years. Working for multiple shop owners and makers, she is familiar with many of the established and upcoming artisans and is always looking forward to seeing what people are creating. She loves being able to share her knowledge of Cape Breton artists with the public and takes great pride in living and working on this creative island.

Outside of her gallery position, she has a studio locally where she makes her collage pieces and works on other artistic and educational projects. As a former school library technician and pack rat, her space is filled with old books and magazines and found objects destined for future creative use. In her life outside of work and studio, you will find her volunteering and fostering at the animal shelter.

Terri Billard

Gallery Shop Assistant


Terri works in the Centre’s Gallery Shop as a part-time Gallery Shop Assistant. She has a profound love for Cape Breton Island and all of its local talent and beauty. Although not an artist herself, she has great appreciation for the artisans and their work, and enjoys having the opportunity to share it with visitors.

On a full-time basis, Terri works in healthcare and as a busy mom of three. She describes the Gallery Shop as her happy place and enjoys being immersed in the culture where she can learn and grow from the team and the artists.