A New Beginning

Hand Made - Long Live Crafts!

In spring 2013 crafts will be given a new lease of life in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. With the most exceptional objects ever made by human hands that have been arranged in a special way, with live demonstrations by artisans, all sorts of workshops and surprising markets with handmade products there will be no escaping it: ‘Hand Made - Long Live Crafts!’

Grayson Perry, The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman, 2011. Cast. Photo: Stephen White
Grayson Perry, The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman, 2011. Cast. Photo: Stephen White

From 9 March 2013 crafts will be the predominant theme at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. You will be able to see artisan techniques that have almost vanished as well as contemporary cross-pollinations between craft and design. You will be able to examine a 16th-century cooking pot and virtuoso handiwork from the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, dresses by Iris van Herpen and the Frog Table by designer Hella Jongerius. As a complement to the exhibition, in the workshops and demonstrations you can learn everything about crafts such as bookbinding or you can produce a 3D-print of your own design.

In recent years there has been a surge in the popularity of handicrafts. Besides crafts providing a fount of inspiration for designers, working with one’s hands has seen a resurgence in the private sphere as well, and the crafts economy ranks high on the innovation agenda.

Five experts shed light on the popularity of crafts and the relevance of the ‘Hand Made’ presentation, drawing on their personal fields of expertise:

Mienke Simon Thomas, Senior Curator of Applied Art and Design at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen:
"I see this exhibition as an example of how a museum can take part in a topical debate. Our rich collection of handmade objects and all the knowledge that has been amassed about them in the museum over the years will, I hope, deepen the level of the discussion about crafts and substantially enrich people’s image of them."

Arjo Klamer, Professor of the Economics of Art and Culture at the Erasmus University Rotterdam:
"There needs to be greater recognition for creative work, quality and craftsmanship. … Artisans are the core of society, you might say. It stands for quality. We are dependent on it, whether plumbers, roofers, you name it. You also often need them if you run a household. But I think it is about more than that alone. Artisans also contribute to the boosting of the Dutch economy."

Glenn Adamson, Deputy Head of Research at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the author of Thinking Through Craft:
“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 21st century.”

Jeroen Junte, design critic for the Dutch newspapers de Volkskrant and Het Financieele Dagblad and the design magazines Eigen Huis & Interieur and Frame:
"In recent times there have been quite a few exhibitions about the rise of traditional handicrafts in design. (…) Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is placing artisinal design in an historical perspective."