Hand Made Long Live Crafts in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Rotterdam

Never before has there been such a great interest in crafts. Contemporary designers are drawing inspiration from handmade products and traditional techniques, and there is also a marked increase in the practice of crafts in the private sphere. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen will be bringing crafts to life, with an exhibition, demonstrations by craftspeople and workshops that will allow visitors to experience and explore handicrafts.

This spring, from 9 March – 20 May 2013, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is staging an exhibition that presents the most exceptional examples of artistic crafts, of today as well as yesteryear. The museum will be displaying more than 500 objects: from a medieval settle-chest, refined Venetian glassware from the 17th century and virtuoso handicrafts from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to an inlaid screen by Studio Job, a sweater made from the fleece of a single sheep by Christien Meindertsma and metal fencing with a bobbin-lace pattern by Demakersvan. Short videos will illustrate the process of producing the artefacts on show. The exhibition incorporates two specially equipped workshops where craftspeople will be working continuously, as well as demonstrating various craft techniques.

Celebrating craftsmanship
Over the last decade, craft has grown into a popular phenomenon in the art and design world. “Today’s renewed attention for crafts is not simply a nostalgic looking back, but more a component of the creative quest for new, contemporary methods and techniques,” states Hand Made’s curator Mienke Simon Thomas. In addition to the growing interest in the practice of crafts in the private sphere, there is also increasing interest in crafts among economists and politicians. Recent socio-economic research reveals that over the coming years the Dutch economy will need hundreds of thousands of trained craftspeople. The knowledge and experience of such artisans and the respected values of the craft economy are inspiring factors for designers, artists and policy-makers.

Historical context and a glimpse into the future
In Hand Made, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen presents centuries-old craft techniques alongside contemporary cross-pollinations between craft and design. Instead of being arranged chronologically, the hundreds of objects in the exhibition are organised around seven popular clichés about ‘craftsmanship’: the honest, unique, virtuoso, artistic, traditional, professional and amateur. The selected objects show that these clichés often possess a kernel of truth, but that it is also possible to show that the converse holds true: craft is not necessarily ‘honest’ and imperfection has not been a universally valued feature of handmade products throughout history. By taking this investigative approach, Hand Made places the concept of ‘craftsmanship’ in an historical context and at the same time offers a glimpse into the future of creative crafts.

Workshops, films, Hand Made markets and more
In conjunction with the exhibition, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is organising numerous activities. Hand Made includes an extensive and varied film and documentary programme about artistic crafts, which will be screened on continuous rotation. The museum’s educational space will temporarily be transformed into a ‘Crafts Studio’, where specialists will be holding a whole range of workshops, such as knitting, 3D printing and woodworking. The accompanying programme’s highlights include the Hand Made markets, where handmade products by amateurs will be sold alongside products by professional artisans.

The workshop shoemaking from 13 t/m 20 May 2013 will be presented by (Dutch Health Tec Academy) gives a week, demonstrations Hand shoemaking. The teachers and students of the course Hand Shoemaking will work this week in the workspace within the exhibition. All activities of the traditional shoemaking will be displayed: from a sketch reading, pattern making, pattern cutting, shafts and stitching. The lecturers are Liesel Swart and René van den Berg. The Virtual Shoe Museum will keep you posted on the shoes made in this week.

Hand Made, Long Live Crafts
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
Museumpark 18-20 Rotterdam

More shoes by Liesel Swart and René van den Berg at the Virtual Shoe Museum.