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Urban Crafters give crafts new lease of life

The Culture Participation Foundation is supporting twelve initiatives which tackle heritage participation. Education, exhibitions and above all engaging events hope to get the younger generations involved in the Dutch traditions. 

By Editor / 12-12-2013 is a firm believer in heritage preservation, whether this be the knowledge-based exchange of forgotten crafts, exhibitions dedicated to educate people about national heritage or even contemporary designers using old crafts to create new products. The Fonds Cultuurparticipatie (FCP) or Foundation for Culture Participation aims to stimulate new initiatives within Dutch culture (culture education, amateur arts and language) and also stimulates the preservation of national heritage. 

By creating new products with traditional crafts and sharing them via social media, a new generation of makers are giving traditional crafts a new lease of life. Through the project Urban Crafters, the Craft Council the Netherlands wants to bridge the gap between two generations and allow them to work together. It is just one of the projects that is supported by the FCP through its scheme for heritage participation. A total sum of €355.451 has been made available to heritage-based projects. 

Valuable craft techniques that are endangered can be kept alive for and by a new generation of craft professionals. New products include longboards, tree houses or 3-D models that take their cue from traditional techniques such as damask weaving, forging wrought iron knives or bike building. 

The start will be a series of Masterclasses by Dutch craftsmen who will reveal the secrets of their trade to a generation of young crafters. Reaching out to a younger generation, product development and the sharing of knowledge and knowhow; this is exactly what the FCP aims for through funding. In addition to the Crafts Council the Netherlands, another eleven initiatives have been rewarded funding.

Among the initiatives is WEAVE by Waag Society, an open think tank and institute for arts, science and technology, linked to such pioneers as Bas van Abel (Fairphone) and winner of a Dutch Design Award, Arne Hendriks (The Incredible Shrinking Man). 

WEAVE stands for ‘Weaving Europe: Artefacts, Values & Exchanges - Cycles of cultural events and ateliers to discover Culture and Art through Textiles and Fibre Artefacts in Europe’ and wants to stimulate children and their parents to learn more about textiles. The main event for this will be  ZigZag: Textile, fibre and felt - it's Smart Child's play!. 

ZigZag is a workshop for primary-school children in which they will get the chance to see, hands on, how textiles are made. The free, public event will be hosted in the Netherlands, Bulgaria and Italy (hence the Europe part) and will encourage children, artists, designers and staff of various museums to create a collective textile artwork. The project encompasses an educational programme for the children as well as the staff, an exhibition and hands-on workshops. 

A huge variety of projects have been awarded funding including instrument making and hedge braiding. The Museum of Musical Instrument Makers (Muziekinstrumentenmakersmuseum) wants to teach instrument making to a younger generation through workshops and through school and work projects. For this they will develop a special restoration workshop and educational materials. Storytelling also plays a large part in instrument making as many people feel they have a special bond with their instrument. Social events featuring concerts will be included in the plan to show the importance of musical instrument making as a profession. 

Then there is the project Revival of the hedge braiding craft by Stichting de Brabantse Boerderdij (the Brabant Farm Foundation) which aims to make hedge braiding popular again in North-Brabant and Limburg, as well as the rest of the Netherlands. The tradition will be promoted to new groups, braiding events will be organised as well as workshops and the planting of new hedges.

A complete list of funded projects can be found on the website of the FCP.

Images: Waag Society and