Gaining Ground Exhibition

Research output: Non-textual outputExhibition


The exhibition explores craft practises across the world that are in tune with nature and connected to their localities – whether that’s in, say, the Philippines, the UK or the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Each of the nine featured projects are part of the British Council’s Crafting Futures programme. They focus largely on areas where the practise and passing down of heritage crafts has been disrupted or undermined by extractive capitalist activities. Medium-wise, the show is incredibly varied, spanning everything from basketry and woven textiles to ceramics.

How do these makers work in close harmony with nature? It varies from project to project – each depends on its local environment and its craft traditions. One example is the broom-makers from Western Java (Gant and Laffiansyha / Making Nature), who use bark fibres from the local palm tree, called kawung. They use harvesting methods that have been passed down over generations – the entire trees can be utilised, including the leaves, fruit and sap, so nothing is wasted. The bark fibres only appear for the first 10 years of the trees’ life, and the palms rely on weasels to disperse their seeds, so working with this material requires ecological balance to be well-maintained. Gaining Ground features beautiful brooms made in this tradition by Mr Sunarya and Mr Hendrayana from Bojong, Purwakarta, which is one of Indonesia’s centres for crafting with palm fibre.Another important way to increase the reach of such practises beyond their immediate localities is mapping. This can be done through analogue methods (such as handbooks) or through digital platforms – we have several open-access websites represented in the show, such as the international tool Making Nature. These sites are all works in progress, which should grow throughout the run of the exhibition and beyond. (UK Crafts Council)
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCrafts Council Gallery London
PublisherCrafts Council
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2022
EventGaining Ground - UK Crafts Council Gallery, London , United Kingdom
Duration: 13 Apr 202225 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note


  • making
  • sustainability
  • Craft Practice


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