The second edition of the Harewood Biennial, ‘Radical Acts. Why Craft Matters’ opened at Harewood House in Leeds on 26 March. Curated by Hugo Macdonald, the second Harewood Biennial comprises the work of 16 designers, artists and craftspeople showing throughout the State Floor and Grounds of the museum Harewood House. The show explores how craft can be a radical act, helping us to address social and environmental issues in modern life: human connection, social justice and equality, climate change and conservation, material potential and natural resources, land use and landfill.
This year’s exciting mix of designers and companies with ecological practices includes furniture designers Mac Collins and Sebastian Cox, Fernando Laposse who works with natural fibres, Industrial designers Michael Marriott and Eunhye Ko, woodworker Bobby Mills, sculptor Francisca Onumah, textile artist Celia Pym, ceramicist Bisila Noha and woodturner Robin Wood, Paris design studio ACAD working with Welsh plastic recyclers Smile Plastics, Community Clothing, Good Foundations International, designer Ilse Crawford’s project with Spanish rug firm nanimarquina, design studio Jones Neville collaborating with hemp experts Margent Farm and salvage company Retrouvius.
Ilse Crawford’s Wellbeing Collection of textiles for nanimarquina, which was first released in April 2017, is displayed in the Yellow Drawing Room. Wellbeing’s comforting textile products focus on tactility, materiality, craft and quality. The collection uses traditional craft techniques and materials like hand spun Afghan wool, nettle, jute, linen, Tussar silk as well as cork, wood, raw wool, and raw cotton carefully sourced by nanimarquina’s team.
Celia Pym’s work is one of the Harewood Commissions for the exhibition. She set up a ‘mending desk’ for a week when she asked Harewood’s collections staff to bring a garment for her to repair. Exploring the radical act of care and repair, these 16 items are exhibited in the Old Library with the stories behind them about how their owners look after Harewood, and what the item meant to them.
The show ends on 29 August 2022.