Ceramics Museum Princessehof and Fries Museum are working towards greener practices in the fight against climate change. The museums want to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals and to the wider prosperity for the region. In order to make sustainability a serious priority, a project leader has been appointed within the museum, who will research various possibilities and draw up an sustainable action plan. In addition, an internal Green Team has been set up to continuously suggest ways and means for environmentally friendly initiatives and alternatives. There is great enthusiasm and willingness among employees to do more about sustainability, and together they are structurally ensuring that the museums make sustainable choices wherever possible. This applies to several aspects, such as the purchasing of materials and reuse in exhibition construction.

Sustainable exhibitions

Sustainability in ceramics
Starting in November 2023, the Princessehof will present a multi-year exhibition program on sustainability. With this, curator Wendy Gers focuses on ceramics with a lower environmental impact than conventional ceramics, which have a high ecological footprint. The series will display a wide range of artists developing innovative approaches, materials and production processes to consciously transform ceramics into more ethically responsible, sustainable and environmentally friendly practice. Sustainable Ceramics #1: Recycled, Repaired, Reactivated is the first of this series of exhibitions and explores sustainability primarily in the areas of recycling and repairing existing ceramics. Organizing this exhibition has made us look critically at our working methods and has stimulated us to look for sustainable alternatives. We have already taken a number of steps to produce this exhibition as sustainably as possible, but we realize that much more can be done. To minimize the environmental impact of the exhibition, we have made sustainable choices where possible.

For this exhibition,

  • as much material as possible is reused. For example, furniture and pedestals are reused and old shelving units are used to strengthen one of the walls in the exhibition hall. In addition, new wooden pallets have been purchased for the exhibition, which will be reused within other exhibitions and in the museum depot.
  • to save as much energy as possible, all lamps in the museum have been replaced by energy-efficient LED-lamps. Furthermore, all screens in the museum are turned off at night.
  • conscious choices have been made regarding transport to reduce the environmental impact and it has been decided to reduce air freight as much as possible and where possible combine transport with other transports. For example, Indian artist Neha Kudchadkar's work is made in Friesland during her residency here in the Netherlands instead of in India to minimize the transport distance.
  • paper handouts are used as little as possible and QR codes are alternatively used within the exhibition.

    We are giving plenty of thought to measures to make exhibitions more sustainable now but also in the future.

Sustainable exhibitions


Watch a variety of interviews from artists working with sustainability.

Learn more about sustainability

Want to know even more about sustainability and ceramics?
Please see some interesting resources below:

Robert Harrison. Sustainable Ceramics. London: Bloomsbury, 2013.

ISBN 978-1-4081-5758-9
Robert Harrison draws on more than four decades of making to present practical possibilities for ceramic artists. It covers all the factors to consider when going ‘green’, from fuels and alternative firing technology to energy-saving methods, sustainable ways to collect and use clay itself, and ways to deal with waste materials and save water. He suggests simple and achievable methods by which to reduce the carbon footprint of ceramic art, and offers examples throughout of practitioners who reclaim, reuse and recycle in their work.

Sara Howard. Circular Ceramics. UK: Sara Howard, 2023.

ISBN 978-1-7393521-0-3
Sara Howard is one of the artists from the exhibition Sustainable Ceramics #1: Recycled, Repaired, Reactivated and makes incredible work from waste material. Accompanying her work she published this amazing publication on her production processes. It explores the issues and proposed solutions of ceramics production, that can be applied to all scales of production. The softback cover is made from 100% post-consumer raw materials. The 168 internal pages are FSC certified.

Bonnie Kemske. Kintsugi: The Poetic Mend. London: Herbert Press, 2021.

EAN 978-1912217991
A stunning book on kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with precious metals to highlight its history beautifully. A broken pot is made whole again, and within its golden repair we see a world of meaning. Kintsugi is the art of embracing imperfection. In Western cultures, the aim of repair has been to make the broken item 'as good as new'. Kintsugi on the other hand, is a Japanese art that leaves an obvious repair - one that may appear fragile, but which actually makes the restored ceramic piece stronger, more beautiful, and more valuable than before.

Yuliya Makliuk. Potters Save the World: Learn to make sustainable ceramics and help protect the Earth. Independently Published, 2023.

ISBN 979-8864765364
Learn to create sustainable and ethical ceramics that makes the Planet - and you - thrive! Unlock the secrets to environmentally-friendly pottery and let go of eco-anxiety as a ceramicist with 'Potters Save the World.'

Katie Treggiden. Wasted: When Trash Becomes Treasure. Amsterdam: Idea Books B.V, 2020.

ISBN 978-9493039384
The book celebrates 30 optimistic and enterprising designers, makers and manufacturers who use waste as their primary resource, offering a rare glimpse into the embryonic world they inhabit. Accompanying these profiles, five in-depth and thematic essays will explore the societal, cultural and environmental implications of their work.

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