Jim Partridge and Liz Walmsley
Russell & Robert meet artists Jim Partridge and Liz Walmsley, who have worked together designing and making furniture and other functional woodwork for over 30 years. The scope of their work ranges from the small and domestic to monumental outdoor pieces. By the time the partnership began Jim had already established a reputation for his vessels and small scale furniture.
Initially they worked on outdoor projects, building public seats, footbridges, and shelters. They have always said that their intention was to make “work with a strong but quiet presence in the landscape”. This statement remains true, even though they have broadened that landscape to include built environments. Projects include an altar for Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford, seats for Compton Verney Art Gallery, RHS Wisley and Warwick University, furniture for Ruthin Crafts Centre, a bridge in North Wales and the large Ridgeons seat in CB1 Cambridge and, more recently a series of work for the Harley Gallery at Welbeck, Nottinghamshire which involved a redesign of the reception area, seating for inside and outside the new gallery to house the Portland collection, and outdoor cafe furniture.
Alongside their site-specific commissioned work their studio furniture, much of which is carved from blocks of green oak, often scorched and polished to a lustrous black finish, regularly appears in exhibitions and is in public collections across the world, including the V&A in London, the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and Manchester Art Gallery. The work has twice been shortlisted for the Jerwood Furniture prize. In 2019 their work was selected as one of 29 finalists from a field of over 2,500 international entries for the Loewe Craft Prize and exhibited in Tokyo, Japan. More information at Loewe Craft prize 2019
This autumn there is work in the 'Signature in Wood' exhibition at the Sarah Myerscough Fine Art gallery and in the 'On the Table' exhibition at Oxford Ceramics Gallery.
Jim and Liz's website is at: www.jplw.co.uk
"Jim Partridge and Liz Walmsley treat wood in a way it deserves, not with a finely turned perfection, but with a strong sense of the material’s true vigour, retaining that elemental simplicity you find in lengths of raw timber, and in the essential life of the grain. Their various sculptural bowls (Partridge’s individual work), seats, benches and bridges are not only bold pieces of concentrated form, but carry a semblance of ritual, a sense of directness and simplicity found too in tribal or early European artefacts. But the language is confidently modern, the work as at home with contemporary architecture as in the broader British landscape from which it springs and with which it so skilfully merges. Born in Leeds in 1953, Partridge attended the John Makepeace School at Parnham House. For many years Jim and Liz have been based in Shropshire." (Bio written by David Whiting).
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