I went to an amazing exhibition in the Rotterdam called Hand Made.
On entering, everyone receives a piece of paper (torn off from a large pad of printed sheets – brilliant idea) to carry around the exhibition with you. The piece of paper is called 10 Propositions About Crafts. They are:
- Not everything labelled handmade is made by hand.
- Crafts date back thousands of years, but the peculiar value attached to the handmade dates back only 150 years.
- If everything were once again made by hand, we would not survive a week.
- Manual labour and technology are just as important as arithmetic and languages.
- Being inspired by crafts does not imply a reversion to the past: learn from history, but focus on the future.
- Craft is much more wide-ranging than woodcarving, pottery and basket weaving.
- Learning a crafts makes you happy and a better person
- Not all crafts are high quality, honest and unique. There are also interior, false and clichéd crafts.
- Craft and technology are not contradictory: 3d printing and laser cutting also require skill.
- Embrace crafts, but remain critical.
You know at this point its going to be a good exhibition.
It was a display of the widest ranging crafts, styles and techniques from all over Europe that I had ever seen. There was a full programme of workshops, and even a live stitch and bitch event
One thing in particular I loved was the interpretation – short and pithy. My favourite kind of exhibition.
One of the panels was so good I had to type it out for you all to be able to read it properly:
Patience, passion and love:
“Although most craftspeople would rather not have their work associated with handicrafts, the distinction is not always easy to discern. Skillful men and women have always engaged in handicrafts in the home. In the past, many women produced high-quality embroidery, while official assignments were often executed by male craftsmen. In the countryside people had time in the winter to make or repair their own household items. In the 20th century handicrafts gained in importance as a form of ‘creative expression’. In the second half of the century, home handicrafts took on some of the work of professional craftspeople. After years of declining interest – an entire generation of young women can no longer knit and embroider – many enthusiastic amateurs now follow all kinds of courses. Working with your hands is now seen as a form of relaxation and stress relief. “