Useful/Beautiful: Why Craft Matters
23 March – 1 September 2019
Daily from 10AM – 6PM
Harewood House, Harewood, Leeds, LS17 9LG
Photo Credits: Jonty Wilde
“Why are we so interested in craft today?” is the question the inaugural Harewood Biennial seeks to answer when it launches at Harewood House in March 2019 and opens a vibrant new season at the Yorkshire stately home.
The first exhibition of the Harewood Biennial is Useful/Beautiful: Why Craft Matters, which aims to challenge preconceptions, spark interest and inspire debate about the role craft can play in culture, identity and society. At a time when there is a surge of interest in craft, (from the supermarket to the catwalk) there is also confusion – is it a product or a process? Is it always handmade? Is it just a marketing buzzword?
Visitors to Harewood, Leeds, will experience a visual treat across the House by some of the most exciting British-based makers of the moment. Each invited to interpret a different room, the twenty-six exhibitors work both nationally and internationally and span fashion, textiles, woodwork, glass, metalwork, furniture, papercraft and leather.
Highlighting Yorkshire’s wealth of skilled talent, five of the twenty-six exhibitors showcased are based in Yorkshire. Distinguished names include Wakefield-based paper artist and illustrator Andy Singleton, Sheffield-born ceramicist Lena Peters and Whitby glass maker, Effie Burns, rubbing shoulders alongside statement printmaker Anthony Burrill, Welsh sustainable denim-makers Hiut Denim, whose jeans are worn by Meghan Markle, Freed dance shoes and the Emily Blunt-sporting Fox Umbrellas.
Curated by design critic Hugo Macdonald, the exhibition crosses generations and disciplines, mixes classic and contemporary and uses Harewood House as a platform to showcase and question the very definition of skill and craft today. Harewood House itself is renowned for the craftsmanship that built and furnished it in the 18th century, using the most skilled architects, designers and makers of the time including Chippendale, Robert Adam and Capability Brown.
“This is one of our most ambitious projects to date,” comments Jane Marriott, Harewood House Trust Director. “Together with a wider programme of workshops, demonstrations, symposia and events, Useful/Beautiful will be a fully immersive and visually striking exhibition for the first six months of our season, across all rooms in the House and extending outside, offering a vibrant and playful new perspective and experience for visitors.”
In addition, there will be three exciting new commissions for Harewood by renowned British designers, each showcasing craftsmanship in a different way and specific to the House. These are due to be revealed in February 2019.
A full programme of weekend events, participatory workshops and more will be added to the website www.harewood.org as tickets are released.