Serena Partridge, Care, cyanotype on felt, detail, photograph Jonathan Turner, 2017

Serena Partridge
Luminary II
Saturday 8 September – Sunday 7 October
Fridays – Sundays, 11.00am – 4.00pm
Admission is free

Luminary II presents a series of embroidered installations by Serena Partridge. The artist creates intricately stitched artworks frequently inspired by historical objects, people, places and storytelling. Serena often presents her work as ‘museum artefact’, with detailed labels playing upon our expectations of narrative or context.

The works in Luminary II were inspired by Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth (Miss Rachel) and the textile collection she assembled at her home, Gawthorpe Hall. The work was commissioned in 2017 to mark the 50th anniversary of Miss Rachel’s death. Serena was keen to incorporate Miss Rachel’s ethos of keeping traditional craft skills alive, by including design and stitch elements made with local schools and adult groups across Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Luminary II features four main works:

Set presents formal place settings for a dining table, featuring embroidered drawings inspired by Miss Rachel’s extensive travels collecting textiles from around the world. Serena asked local school children to draw famous landmarks representing countries Miss Rachel visited. She then hand-stitched a selection of the drawings with glow-in-the-dark thread.

Care represents Miss Rachel in her role as caretaker of Gawthorpe Hall and her growing textile collection. Serena worked with fellow artist, Scarborough-based Angela Chalmers, to create soft cyanotype prints onto felt that embody Miss Rachel’s notion of her exquisite collection of whitework as ‘snowflakes’.

Guide is inspired by Miss Rachel’s long involvement with the Girl Guide Movement and a communal sampler, designed by Miss Rachel and embroidered by her guides and brownies. Serena invited local school pupils to create designs and drawings, adapted by an adult group who designed and embroidered individual pennants.

Play is informed by Miss Rachel’s determination not to learn to play the piano, despite her parents’ insistence. The flora and fauna Serena has created for Play are inspired by the stunning crewel work ‘Tree of Life’ bed curtain Miss Rachel designed and stitched, which can be seen at Gawthorpe Hall.

Serena Partridge, Guide, detail, photograph Jonathan Turner, 2017

The exhibition at Crescent Arts reconfigures the works that were originally presented ‘in situ’ at Gawthorpe Hall in 2017. The biographical content remains central, but the exhibition inevitably distances the work from its original context. Our attention is focused on it as a conceptual interpretation of  ‘heritage’, experiencing it as a visual response (to a museum collection), enriched by biographical and narrative strands and enlivened by the engagement of young people and adults in the process of making the work.

Serena Partridge graduated from Hereford College of Arts in 1998, BA (Hons) Design Crafts (1stClass), and has been based at Crescent Arts since 2015. She has exhibited widely in a solo capacity and participated in various group exhibitions. This includes major commissions for Charlotte Great and Small, Brontë 200 at Brontë Parsonage, Haworth (2016) and Luminary at Gawthorpe Hall, Lancashire (2017).

Luminary is a Gawthorpe Textiles Collection commission and part of Meeting Point2 by Arts & Heritage; presenting 10 new artist commissions in museums across the North East, North West and Yorkshire.  Meeting Point2 is funded by Arts Council England Museum Resilience Fund.