Lise Bech, Jim Partridge & Liz Walmsley | From Willow to Wood
‘My journey with willow began almost 40 years ago. Despite having virtually lived and breathed willow for many of those years there has always been more ideas to try out and forms to explore.’ Lise Bech
Originally from Denmark, Lise Bech lived and worked in the Southern Uplands of Scotland for many years drawing inspiration from the landscape. She has since made a new home and studio in the heart of Fife. Living close to the earth through gardening, she grows her own willows and cares deeply for the planet. Co-operation, collaboration and community continue to be the touchstones which inform her life and practice as a basket-maker.
‘My journey with willow began almost 40 years ago. Despite having virtually lived and breathed willow for many of those years there has always been more ideas to try out and forms to explore. With less pressure in my later years, I have had time to play and experiment and indeed go deeper in those that had lasting appeal. The introduction of twisted twigs from my garden as handles and gold leaf on a ’shopper’ is a playful tongue in cheek juxtaposition which may raise questions… What is it for? Is it a shopper? Do we need shoppers these days?’ – Lise Bech
Jim Partridge studied at John Makepeace’s Parnham House School for Craftsmen in Wood in the 1970s, whilst Liz Walmsley’s first professional life in the crafts was in the world of ceramics. Since 1986 the couple have worked together designing and making furniture, with the exception of the vessels which remain solely Jim’s domain. They both live and work together in Oswestry, in Shropshire near the Welsh border.
Jim Partridge and Liz Walmsley are and have been associated with The Scottish Gallery since the early 1990’s. Their partnership has worked successfully on many architectural projects and environmental commissions. Their studio furniture, much of which is carved from blocks of green oak, often scorched and polished to a lustrous black finish, is in public collections across the world. They have always said that their intention was to make “work with a strong but quiet presence in the landscape”.
Public Collections include:
The Crafts Council; Contemporary Arts Society; The Victoria & Albert Museum; Manchester Art Gallery; The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; The British Council; Kyoto Museum of Modern Art, Japan; Boston Museum of Fine Art, USA.
Public projects include work for:
Grizedale Forest, Common Ground; The Quay Arts Centre, Isle of Wight; The Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal; Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford; The Welcome Trust; Sustrans, “Qube” gallery, Oswestry; Compton Verney Arts Trust; Edinburgh Botanic Gardens; Ruthin Craft Centre and RHS Wisley.
Jim and Liz were shortlisted for the LOEWE Craft Prize 2019.