Hip handicrafts

Elleke van Duin, Monday, February 2, 2015 , 631 Views

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The Dutch are industrious folk. Before television, a lot of knitting went on. And embroidery. It was fun and useful too, as before you knew it you’d got an oven cloth, or a pair of socks. During the 70s, it became fashionable to weave your own identity into your interior as a reaction to industrialisation. So there was a lot of macramé, plant hangers, art on the wall and bags. Rugs were patched and bedspreads crocheted. Domestic cosiness was king.

From the moment Caroline Evers (48) had knitting lessons at primary school, she was hooked. She now has her own label, Bedtime for Bonzo, consisting of knitted clothes, coat hangers and furniture. Particularly special are her vintage designer chairs which she reupholsters, using handmade wooden knitting needles over a metre in length. “I love crafts. You start with nothing and in a short space of time a shape suddenly appears. Fascinating.”

Evers’ creations are so popular that she now has her own room in Arnhem’s Hotel Modez, full of white knitted goods. Artist Martine van der Hul has also been invited to design a room in the same Modez. Her embroidered bridal items are used for the wall, curtains and bedspread.

Leoniek Bontje is an artist working with wires. She creates T-shirts with fashionable wire prints and portraits in wire. Original and fashionable! Would you rather have a functional piece of handicraft? STERK-design sells netted plant hangers, made of weather-resistant nylon for indoor and outdoor use.

But for good old-fashioned Dutch craft you need the women’s association Tesselschade-Arbeid Adelt (TAA, since 1871), with 31 branches around the country. This organisation sells handicrafts made by 450 manual workers. They create tea cosies, children’s clothing, lavender bags, guest towels and oven gloves. Some of the profit goes to women in financial difficulty to enable them to study and become economically independent. Apart from supporting a good cause, they keep old handicraft techniques alive too. Old-fashioned? Not at all. Princess Máxima regularly buys clothes for her daughters from them. And everything she wears becomes a hit instantly. Just think of the Dutch mailbag jacket by designer Jan Taminiau. Apart from being traditional, sustainable, authentic and environmentally friendly, handicrafts are also very fancy indeed.

Bedtime For Bonzo, Klarendalseweg 183, Arnhem
Hotel Modez, Elly Lamakerplantsoen 4, Arnhem
Sterk Design is verkrijgbaar bij Loods 5, Pieter Ghijsenlaan 14B, Zaandam
Tesselschade-Arbeid Adelt Amsterdam, Leidseplein 33, Amsterdam

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Hip handicrafts