Craft Your Future as example at the National info day of Erasmus+

Ben Bosch – 14 november 2019

On November 14th Erna van der Werff (Learning Hub Friesland) and Hendrik Jan Hoekstra of Friesland College presented the project Craft Your Future at a national meeting of the national agency.

They were asked to inspire other schools and supporting organisations to make use of the possibilities that ERASMUS+ has to offer.

Craft Your Future also stands out nationwide because, from the start, many parties have became involved in the regions that work together in this project. This is also what makes the project so powerful because the material developed helps the partners in the regions to achieve support for the theme.

Hendrik Jan focused on how a European programme can help to achieve the school’s own objectives. Erna focused on the creation and organisation of a local and European network.

What is clearly stated is that it is also very nice to work directly with students in a project. After all, that is what a school does it for. Students are critical and therefore very valuable to give feedback on the already developed materials.

Dutch Design Meets Technology

It was a very interesting afternoon @ DDMT @ Heerenveen. Our fashion students have shown the possibilities offered by our new fashion design software. This software empowers students to design and produce clothes in a fully digitised manner. It is even possible to test the design in 3D on a custom 3D-avatar (model). It is instantly clear how a piece of clothing is going to fit in reality. The whole proces is super efficient and saves a lot of time, material costs and bad working conditions. The (private sector) public showed a lot of interest in these new technologies.

First evaluated indicators of the Craft Your Future project

The Leeuwarden meeting was already evaluated by the project partners, after the processing the data extracted by the responses of the young participants of the meeting, for which our partner of the Polytechnic University of Valencia has taken responsibility. We can announce as a very satisfactory data that young people considered the knowledge they obtained about the traditions and crafts of the region as a very high (84.7%), and what is relevant for the EU, which can be assumed for their future. .


Fig. 1. Graph of the response young people gave, after the first meeting of the project, to the importance of cultural heritage and crafts. (1 = Strongly disagree; 5 = Strongly agree)

Regarding the effects and importance of the circular economy, a very similar result is also reproduced (84.6%).


Fig. 2. Students received examples of circular economy during the meeting

Regarding the interest and the possibilities of innovating through digital manufacturing technologies, the data is lower but with a high figure of 76%, although they consider it very important for them (also in 84.6)

Other relevant figures are:

  • the stimulus of creativity because of the participation in the meeting (92.4%),
  • the relevance of being able to access spaces that enable this creativity (92.3%), as was the DLab.


Fig. 3. Students believe it is important to develop creativity and have meeting spaces that stimulate that creativity in the EU (fablabs, hackerspaces, creative hubs, etc.)

Regarding the meeting held in the Netherlands, the data reflects both satisfaction and the fulfillment of objectives in a very high level: 69.2% recognize that they can develop competencies around the project areas in a short-medium term and that this can influence the work level (77% would like to work in some of these lines in the future), and 53.8 believe the possibility that innovative projects can be developed around these three areas is very high.


Fig. 4. Young people consider that it is very possible to innovate through handicrafts, circular economy and creative technologies
Fig. 5. Students think more initiatives in these fields should be developed un teh EU
  • 77% are interested to learn deeper in these fields
  • 69.3 believes that it would be necessary to have specific information on the Internet,
  • 100% believe it is necessary to develop more initiatives of this style in the EU.
  • Almost 80% believe that teachersshould provide them with more information in this field,

In a next post we will continue to report the impact of the project through these indicators.

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. 

Creative workshop in Valencia to analyze possible ‘circular’ proposals

At the end of June, the spanish partners of the project “Craft your Future”(FabLab Oceano Naranja and Universitat Politécnica de València) organized a creative workshop coordinated by Professor Chele Esteve at the Engineering Design School. For this, we work with the same spanish students who were going to participate in the Tryavna-Gabrovo exchange (to be held in September in Bulgaria).

A methodology of cards was presented to analyze which one could be the best tools to design a ‘circular’ proposal, taking into account:

a)the different agents of our ecosystem that could participate (Valencia),

b) the involvement of young students and

c) above all, where focus the focus and be able to solvebetter those challenges.

Methodology of cards

Different measures were proposed from the results presented in the workshop and they allowed us to writea report of possible proposals for challenges to be developed as an example in future Craft Your Future initiatives. The most important thing was to consider the interest of the participants in the initiative.

Dutch, Bulgarian and Spanish students show their Craft Your Future designs in Valencia

Students from Friesland College, Tryavna Craft school and the University of Valencia showed their work during the Craft Exhibition in the Craft Centre of the Valencian Community in Spain. In early April it was all about the European Days of Crafts. In this context several activities were be organised, amongst which the Craft your Future student exposition with objects from the Netherlands, Bulgaria and Spain.

In the Netherlands, under the supervision of Friesland College teachers Harm de Jong and Frank Kroondijk, the Dutch students worked on their design objects following the Craft Your Future principles: to combines traditional crafts, new techniques and a circular economy. Craft your Future is an Erasmus+ project in which Dutch partners Friesland College, Learning Hub Friesland and House of Design cooperate with the University of Valencia, Fab Lab Valencia, Tryavna Craft School and FabriC (the Bulgarian foundation for craftsmanship). How can we learn from the craftsmanship of the past for challenges we face today? Craft Your Future makes educational programmes future proof.

Student Masha van Kammen used Friesland Colleges latest acquirement for her design object: the WASP 3D clay printer. Guided by the Dutch designer Lies van Huet, she made ceramic lamps and vases.

Back in 2014, Lies van Huet was inspired by a workshop ‘3D printing with clay’ from Jonathan Keep, a frontrunner in this field. The seed that was planted then, now sprouts. The 3D printer offers us the possibility to, in addition to clay, print multiple other circular materials such as cellulose and PHA from sewage sludge, bioplastics from potato starch and glycerine or a biobased concrete from reed and lignin.

‘The designs are made in the computer programme Vectorworks and printed with the WASP 3D clay printer. The pentagon shapes are one of the first self-made designs I have printed. I chose this shape because it feels uneven, but it is symmetric as well. I made the two twisted designs because I wanted to make something out of porcelain which can’t be made by hand.’ says Masha.

On April 4th 2019, the Craft Your Future exhibition officially opened at the Craft Centre of the Valencian Community in Spain. The partners of the Erasmus+ project Craft your Future were invited to this event and will have their second Transnational Project Meeting to discuss the project progress.