Workshop craft and 3d at Hogeland College, May 2021

In May 2021 we gave a workshop at Hogeland College in Warffum. The students were introduced to design, local materials, crafts, new techniques and the local value chain model from House of Design. It was nice to see how enthusiastic the students became of creating something with their hands.

Check the video:

Creative solutions
“I really like it, I’m getting all kinds of ideas.” – says one of the students, after we asked them to think of a sustainable product as an alternative to single use plastic. They came up with creative solutions to recycle plastic and to shop without packaging, and they used the local value chain model. After this first lesson about the working method of House of Design and the project Local Making Place, they followed a workshop by three professional designers.

‘As long as it bends’
The first day they learned to braid. Under the guidance of designer Esme Hofman, they made a basket of willow twigs. The technique that was used is called “random weaving”. Esme gave a short presentation about her work, materials and craft. It quickly became clear that there are countless possibilities. ‘You can actually braid anything, as long as it bends.’ The students picked it up quickly and were surprised at their own results.

Digging and drilling for clay
On day two we started to work with clay. At half past nine in the morning we were – defying wind and weather – digging and drilling behind the dike at Noordpolderzijl. After about half a meter, the clay appeared that we were looking for and took back to the classroom. Designer Marc Paulusma then explained to them how to process the clay before you can use it. With Tinkercad, the students made their own 3D design and Marc had brought a 3D clay printer, which he used to print a cup. “I am pleasantly surprised at the designs they have made” – says Marc.

Thumb jar
Clay specialist and craftsman Wybren Veenstra took over the lesson in the afternoon and briefly told about the history of clay in Groningen and showd products that are and were made of clay. Then the students made different shapes, including a thumb jar, in order to get to know the material and the different techniques. Wybren gave tips: how they can handle the material the best way and how they can decorate the shapes.

Excited about creating
Looking back at the lessons, the students were especially enthusiastic about making something. They think it is special that they have made something with their own hands that comes from their own neighborhood: ‘It is special that you can make something like this out of a tree!’ During the making, you saw a nice concentration and focus in the students. We also see that the students have a talent for a specific material or technique. For some students the braiding goes very well and others are better with clay.

The involved teacher and director of the school are very enthusiastic and mention the added value of these lessons for the students. In addition to your head you also need to learn with your hands and it also adds meaning for the students.

Due to corona we had to adjust the program slightly, but we are very happy with the final result. We will soon discuss how we can take this further. Together we design the future!

Here are some pictures of the lessons:

Making the local value chain

Esmé Hofman showing different products

Students braiding and wickering

Digging for clay

March Paulusma explaining 3D printing with clay

Multiplier event Simmerskoalle Flaaks – Summerschool Flax, 14th of July 2021.

During the summer holidays we organized the first ‘Simmerskoalle Flaaks’ in Bollingwier. We did this together with the European project Craft your Future to raise awareness of flax as a raw material for a circular and plastic-free future.

The Simmerskoalle got the participating students, entrepreneurs, policy makers and local residents to think about the transition to plastic-free. With lectures by Eileen Blackmore and Thomas Eyck, among others, but also through workshops.

We could not have wished for a better ambassador than Alderman Jelle Boerema of the municipality of Noardeast Fryslân, who took care of the opening of the day. According to him, flax can make a nice contribution to a broad prosperity along the Wadden Sea coast. In his opening words, Boerema discussed the value of flax for biodiversity and the contribution that the crop can make to the circular economy, partly due to its high insulation value. He also believes that the government has a role to play in this. This can stimulate development through sustainable tendering. In addition, Boerema pointed out the importance of flax for recreation and tourism. More and more people are finding their way to the Wadden Sea coast, he said. This trend dates back to before corona. “People appreciate our tourism products. A flax route and a flax museum fit in nicely.”

During the day we used the Craft your Future game to invite all different stakeholders to co-operate in small groups and develop ideas how we can use craft, flax, recycled linen into future projects and products.
It worked really great! The alderman Jelle Boerema proposed to use the game to develop ideas with the municipality employees too!

Photos Janna Bathoorn

Different stakeholders playing the CyF game
Workshop weaving duck baskets from flax

Student training week in Bulgaria

Students from the Netherlands, Spain and Bulgaria will training this week on crafts that are still being practised in Bulgaria. The training will be supervised by Eileen Blackmore from House of Design and teacher Frank Kroondijk from Friesland College.

Value of crafts and local skills
The students will experience the value of crafts and gain insight into local skills. This knowledge and these skills, combined with new digital techniques and preferably renewable raw materials, will be used for making utensils.

‘After a visit to the Art Academy in Tryavna, the students Interior design from Leeuwarden and Valencia were wildly enthusiastic. They wanted to stay longer to learn the skills that we have already forgotten here.’– Eileen Blackmore.

Added value
The students will learn to make products that do not end up in the trash after a few uses. If you design and create something properly, it will have more value than mass products from China. These are punched out of a mold, transported around the world in container ships and then, following a short lifespan, end up on the rubbish dump via the gray container.

The training week coincides with a large international Craft Congress in Etar, the open ethonographic museum in Gabrovo. During the congress, artisans will not only show their products, but especially their skills, and they will discuss the role of crafts in the current economy.