Crafty Hands

Welcome to an exhibition about the wonder of the human hand!

Look with your hands, grasp with your eyes: on Schallaburg Castle you can experience how important old and new crafts and the skills of our hands are for the modern world. Unique masterpieces, interactive stations and exciting events make an excursion to Schallaburg Castle a discovery tour of handicrafts for the whole family.

In 2019, Schallaburg Castle presents itself as a historico-cultural treasure trove, filled with exquisitely crafted objects. From the delicate “Sisi Stars” of the jewellers A.E. Köchert to Prince Eugene of Savoy’s mighty wrought-iron gate that was exhibited at the 1898 World Fair in Antwerp … the exhibition “Crafty Hands” showcases lavishly crafted masterpieces, inventive tools and almost forgotten stories about craft life. The journey takes you from the guilds of the Middle Ages to modern-day 3D printing and encourages visitors to take the future in their own hands!

Feel, touch, shape
We need our hands to master our everyday lives and create extraordinary things, to understand the world and shape it. Our hands, those miracles of nature, help us get through the day – as indispensable tools, sensitive sensory organs, means of communication and much more.

Can I read with my hands? How much weight am I holding in my hand? What makes a person’s handwriting unique? Interactive stations will test your dexterity and craftsmanship. Simple games and tricky tasks will demonstrate what human hands are capable of.

Graphic hands

© fuhrer visuelle gestaltung og

That’s handy!

A declaration of love to our hands

Small or big, delicate or strong, experienced or curious – hands shape our identity. With our hands we grasp reality, create new things and do our daily work. These magic tools and the things we create with them are the focus of the exhibition “Crafty Hands”.

We experience the world with our hands. At the same time, we grasp and feel our surroundings. Our thought, language and culture are influenced by our hands’ skills: we “grasp” a concept, “hold” a lecture, “draw” conclusions, “twist” someone’s words around, take “a handful” of sweets and open doors “a hand’s breadth”.

Our hands are closely linked to our language and are effective means of communication. We can clarify what we’re saying with gestures. Hands say a lot about our personality. The shape of our hands and the lines on our palms reflect our character and reveal signs of our fate. Thus, in chiromancy, the art of palm reading, our hands are read as books of our lives.

We speak with our hands and use them to put our thoughts into action. To make this possible, the tendons, ligaments, and 25 bones of the hand form into a complex apparatus. Thus, the human hand performs fundamentally different things with equal dexterity; for example, slow movements with great effort when climbing, or quick movements with little effort when playing the piano.

A 6-cm playable miniature violin made of gold; insights into the art of palm reading; hand casts of famous historical figures; custom-made gloves … Many historical and modern exhibits demonstrate the significance of our hands. In the exhibition you can discover what your hands can do really well! Test your dexterity on the hand parkour, show us your handwriting, and massage your friend’s hand reflex zones. The exhibition “Crafty Hands” is a discovery tour for all age groups.

Masterpieces

Exhibits made by masterly hands

Since the Middle Ages, craftsmen and craftswomen have had to produce a masterpiece after the successful completion of their journeyman’s time as a practical part of the master craftsman’s examination. As the exhibition shows, such work pieces are often based on elaborate traditional techniques and profound knowledge of materials and work processes. But not only outstanding work pieces for final examinations deserve the title of being a “masterpiece”. Great works of art, design and traditional craftsmanship are also masterpieces. The exhibition tells the stories of outstanding work pieces and their masters.

Goldsmiths are used to doing precision work at a very small scale. And so Wilhelm Hadler came up with the idea of creating a miniature violin. It’s made of pure gold and is actually playable. © master goldsmith Wilhelm Hadler, photo: kulturundwein.com

Playable masterpiece: golden miniature violin on a scale of 1:6

Goldsmiths are used to doing precision work at a very small scale. And so Wilhelm Hadler came up with the idea of creating a miniature violin. It’s made of pure gold and is actually playable.

© master goldsmith Wilhelm Hadler, photo: kulturundwein.com

The first “Sisi Stars” were a gift from Emperor Franz Joseph I to his wife on the occasion of their first wedding anniversary. The stars are also famously worn by the Empress in an oil portrait by Franz Xaver Winterhalter.  © A.E. Köchert Jewellers, Vienna

Sisi Stars - stud earrings made of diamonds

The first “Sisi Stars” were a gift from Emperor Franz Joseph I to his wife on the occasion of their first wedding anniversary. The stars are also famously worn by the Empress in an oil portrait by Franz Xaver Winterhalter.

© A.E. Köchert Jewellers, Vienna

It took four years to carve this masterpiece of a giant pipe in Allentsteig in the Waldviertel region. Rudolf von Habsburg can be seen on the lid, leaving his horse to a priest; underneath are the crown lands’ coats of arms and the motto “Praised be the devout hunter”. © JTI Collection Vienna; photo: Pedro Salvadore

Giant pipe from the Waldviertel region

It took four years to carve this masterpiece of a giant pipe in Allentsteig in the Waldviertel region. Rudolf von Habsburg can be seen on the lid, leaving his horse to a priest; underneath are the crown lands’ coats of arms and the motto “Praised be the devout hunter”.

© JTI Collection Vienna; photo: Pedro Salvadore

Handicraft

Let’s roll up our sleeves!

Are you feeling blue?
Joseph Koó and his wife Miriam are the third generation of blueprint-dyers with one of the last blueprint-dyeing shops in Europe. Based in Steinberg in Burgenland, they use ancient traditions to apply patterns and ornaments to fabrics which are then dyed blue. In 2018, blueprint-dyeing was even included in UNESCO’s “List of Intangible Cultural Heritage”. Find out more about the work of blueprint-dyers in the “Crafty Hands” exhibition!

Handmade
Traditional crafts are important and shouldn’t fall into oblivion. The Werkraum Bregenzerwald is committed to maintaining craft culture and has been making regional crafts visible to the public since 1999. Craftsmen and craftswomen from many different businesses demonstrate their skills, share their knowledge and aim to secure the future of craftsmanship by training young talents to become professionals. “Crafty Hands” presents film footage of the Werkraum Bregenzerwald that was created for an exhibition in 2016. The footage is a survey of all the things that are made by hand. Find out more about the Werkraum Bregenzerwald.

The art of crafts
Art and crafts differ from each other, yet they are also closely related. Both arts and crafts require precise knowledge and extensive experience, often acquired across the generations. But they also require a clientele that can afford exclusive objects.

Heinrich Hetzer has the art of weaving in his blood. His family has been involved in this craft for generations. Examples of his incomparable craftsmanship are the wall damask for two rooms in Crown Prince Rudolf’s apartment in Schönbrunn Palace and the textile furnishings of a historical coach belonging to Prince Esterházy. Heinrich Hetzer’s exhibited handloom gives an insight into the production methods of precious fabrics.

A gilded past
The history of crafts organised in guilds goes back to the Middle Ages. Each guild regulated in its catchment area the admission to the trade, education and training, the extent and quality of production, as well as the social safety net of the members’ families. Guild chests, guild tankards, “welcome” drinking vessels and guild symbols give us an insight into the structure of crafts in the Middle Ages until the end of the guild system when the freedom of trade was introduced in Austria in 1859.
Travelling documents and journeymen’s diaries provide us with interesting facts about the period. They describe the travels of journeymen, who spread their knowledge but also gained new skills during their mandatory years on the road. The Lower Austrian Chamber of Commerce celebrates this old tradition by launching the “Let’s Walz” initiative, Walz being the German term for the journeymen’s travelling years. Apprentices have the opportunity to complete a four-week internship in partner businesses across Europe. Learn more about “Let’s Walz”. 

Crafts are innovative
The versatile use of clay has always kept pace with the times. Porcelain and ceramics have been continuously reinterpreted since the Neolithic period, accompanying the cultural development of mankind. Today, many innovative products indispensable in our daily lives are made from these materials.

From the ceramicist Martina Zwölfer’s everyday-use pieces to artist Marie Janssen’s “Shrouded Furnace” project and the technical ceramics used in medical engineering and industry ... the exhibition “Crafty Hands” shows the versatility of ceramics from traditional craft to innovative 3D printing.

Guided tours

Together in the exhibition

Guided tour "Crafty Hands" (only available in German) Mon–Fri: 9:30 am, 11:00 am, 2:00 pm, 3:30 pm, Sat: 9:30 am, 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, 4:00 pm, Sunday and holidays: 9:30 am, 11:00 am, 12:00 noon, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm, 4:00 pm
→ Buy your ticket in our german online shop

Guided family tour "Crafty Hands"
Sunday and holidays: 2:30 pm (only available in German)
→ Buy your ticket in our german online shop

Do-it-yourself

Try your hand yourself!

In our fast-moving and increasingly digitalised age, DIY is becoming more and more popular. Doing something with your own hands slows down time, grounds you, and places the focus on unique items instead of mass-produced ones. Making and repairing things instead of buying new ones makes you feel proud and gives you a feeling of self-determination. It’s also more sustainable. It’s not surprising that the DIY movement is experiencing a revival.

“They who embroider do not sin”
Even Regent Maria Theresa did some hands-on work herself. She believed that concentrating her thoughts on a useful activity would help her to avoid useless daydreaming. Her fine embroidery work, which was very elaborate and took many hours to create, can be admired in the exhibition.

#meinerhändewerk
What are your hands good at? Why do you think they are masterful? We want to see your masterpieces and therefore invite you to show us your handiwork! Post a photo of your work on Instagram using the hashtag #meinerhändewerk and become a part of the exhibition!

Handmade and self-bound
Design your own exhibition guide! Diligent collectors will find DIY instructions and fascinating information in the exhibition rooms. At the end of the exhibition, we invite you to bind the collected pages into your own personal exhibition guide with the help of crafty instructions, which you can follow when you’re home again!

 

Cultural education

An exhibition to feel, shape und grasp

Find out – accompanied by our cultural educators – what our hands and expert tools are capable of. Entertaining background stories and interesting facts open up new perspectives on the subject of craft in the form of a dialogue.

Family programme
Test your skills at interactive stations and be ready to be surprised – by the shadow play, for example, or by the tool puzzle, or the bookbinding session! Go on a family tour and discover the world of crafts.

The easy way to make the most of the exhibition: Book your guided tour from home in our online shop!

Guided family tour © Martina Siebenhandl

Cultural Education 2

Exhibition team

Content: Brigitte Felderer, Katrin Ecker
Cultural education: die Ausstellungsmacherinnen Lisa Noggler-Gürtler, Maria Prantl
Exhibition design: Michael Wallraff ZT GmbH
Graphic design (exhibition): fuhrer visuelle gestaltung og
Commercial graphics: Perndl+Co Design GmbH and Klaus Pichler

Co-operations

To mark the exhibition “Crafty Hands”, Schallaburg Castle and the Chamber of Commerce of Lower Austria have entered a wide-ranging co-operation in the area of master craftsmanship, including events and the “Let’s Walz” initiative. The exhibition itself is supported by Würth and the “Handwerk und Manufaktur im Waldviertel” initiative.  

Logo Lower Austrian Chamber of Commerce Logo of company Würth Logo of the initiative "Handwerk & Manufaktur im Waldviertel"

My Visit

0 Entries Entry

Suggested visit time:

Send List