In the spring of 2013 Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen took crafts as its principal theme. An exhibition with more than 500 objects presented the most exceptional examples of artistic crafts. With a complementary programme of demonstrations of traditional techniques, films and documentaries, markets and a whole variety of workshops, Hand Made brought crafts to life.
In the exhibition visitors could enjoy the most exceptional objects made by human hands, from the Middle Ages to the present day, in the museum’s spacious Bodon galleries: from a 16th-century suit of armour to the handmade fashion of Iris van Herpen, from ‘Clay Furniture’ by designer Maarten Baas to refined needlepoint lace and examples of domestic embroidery. Short videos provided insight into the traditional techniques used to produce these objects. As part of the exhibition, craftspeople were continuously on hand to demonstrate their skills and passion, showing a whole array of techniques, such as papermaking, weaving, goldsmithing or a demonstration of violin making.
Seven clichés about crafts
The hundreds of objects in the exhibition were not arranged chronologically, but were centred around popular clichés that exist about the concept of ‘crafts’. The chosen objects showed that the clichés often have a kernel of truth, but it is also possible to show that the opposite is true. For example, the practice of crafts is not necessarily ‘fair’ and imperfection has not always been a universally valued property of handmade products. Hand Made thus provided the concept of crafts with an historical context and at the same time offered a glimpse into the future of creative crafts.
Design in Boijmans
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is the Dutch podium for national and international design talent. Since 2011 the museum has presented a range of exciting design exhibitions as part of the programme ‘Design in Boijmans’. There was also a wealth of design on display in 2013.
‘Hand Made, Long Live Crafts’ was supported by the Mondriaan Fonds, 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 en all participating craftspeople . vtwonen is the mediapartner for the exhibition.