Future of Craft

Helen Yardley

What do you do and what are you most proud of in your making/designing history?

I’m best known for designing and making rugs, which I’ve always regarded as being drawings for floors. (We often make wall hung textiles too). Possibly our most high profile commission was for a series of felt wall hangings for the House of Commons Building, Portcullis House. More recently we shipped some vast rugs to the Metropolitan Hotel in Bangkok. What gives me the most pleasure is when architects specify rugs for their own spaces: it feels like a proper badge of approval.

Where do you work and what materials do you prefer/get most inspired by?

My studio is a light filled space in London Bridge, it houses a showroom and a workshop where we make the prototypes and one-offs. All of our large-scale commissions are made in Yorkshire.

We use wool, felt and linen; woollen yarn creates the most rich and vibrant colours although recently I’ve started working with glass dalles de verre blocks, so it’s all about the quality and emotional impact that coloured light has on us.

What do think will be important or significant for craft practice in general in the future?

I believe it is important to make things that last. Craft practitioners by nature care deeply about materials, and value the journey of the process involved in making unique objects, that will be cherished. This form of sustainability is both practical and soulful. Longevity is implicit in this form of making.

What are your own aspirations for the next five years?

I have so many aspirations but essentially I’m hoping to be able to keep making things that people want to buy.

Helen first joined Design-Nation in 2001 and has been a honorary member since 2018.