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This spring Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen puts the spotlight on crafts in a unique exhibition featuring the most exquisite objects made by human hands, from the Middle Ages to the present day. The widespread interest in the exhibition demonstrates the need for this ‘crafts manifesto’. ‘Hand Made: Long Live Crafts’ opens on 9 March 2013.
Now that the interest in crafts is greater than ever, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen presents ‘Hand Made: Long Live Crafts’. The exhibition aims to clear away the jumble of romantic clichés about crafts and craftsmanship. Curator Mienke Simon Thomas: “With our rich collection of handcrafted objects and all the knowledge we have amassed about them over the years, we want to raise the discussion about crafts to a new level and enrich people’s image of craftsmanship.”
The exhibition places crafts in a historical context and offers a glimpse of the future of craftsmanship. It includes a tableware service from 2009 by Atelier NL made from local clay from different places in the Netherlands. The service, from the museum’s collection, is based on the old craft tradition of using local materials. The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is lending a seventeenth-century masterpiece: a work by the Dutch-British woodcarver Grinling Gibbons (1648-1721) in the form of a lace bowtie, designed to display the artist’s unsurpassed virtuosity. Speaking about the exhibition in Rotterdam, Glenn Adamson, Deputy Head of Research at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and author of the book ‘Thinking Through Craft’ says: “Craft is at the forefront of the public imagination these days; it could not be a better time for the Boijmans to undertake such an exhibition. The extraordinary breadth of the project will attest to the pervasive relevance of skill and the handmade, both historically and in the twenty-first century.”
Revival of crafts
‘Hand Made: Long Live Crafts’ invites the visitor not only to explore and learn about crafts, but also to experience them. During the exhibition Etsy, the highly successful online marketplace for handcrafted products, will organise two ‘Etsy Hands On’ master classes and a ‘Quit Your Day Job’ theme day. During Rotterdam’s Museum Night Swan Market will host a special Hand Made market in the museum’s courtyard. Monique de Ruiter, editor-in-chief of media partner vtwonen: “I think it’s great that the exhibition is based on solid knowledge and research, but it is also able to brings crafts close to the people.” And Jeroen Junte, design critic for the De Volkskrant, Het Financieele Dagbladand design magazines Eigen Huis & Interieur and Frame explains: “There have been quite a few recent exhibitions about the revival of traditional crafts in design. Most of them have been extremely dry displays of exclusive decorative objects on white plinths. (In Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen) artists and designers have been invited to demonstrate their skills and give workshops, and visitors can buy handmade products at the special Hand Made Markets.”
‘Hand Made: Long Live Crafts' has been made possible by the Mondriaan Fund, VSBfonds, SNS REAAL Fonds, Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie, Fonds voor Cultuurparticipatie, Shell, SintLucas, Dutch Centre for Folk Culture and Intangible Heritage, Etsy, Farrow & Ball, Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, Swan Market and all the participating craftspeople. The media partner is vtwonen.
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