Winsome Jobling

<strong>Winsome Jobling</strong><br/> Born 1957, Oberon; arrived Darwin, Northern Territory, 1982; resides Darwin<br/><br/><i> Monsoon</i> 2013<br/>Drypoint with chine collé of handmade & dyed banana paper, on Hahnemuhle paper with pulp painted building and pinned elements<br/>109 x 56cm [image]; 124 x 60cm [paper mount]<br/>Charles Darwin University Art Collection – CDU2430<br/>Acquired by purchase, 2013<br/>Image © the artist<br/>Photography: Fiona Morrison

Winsome Jobling began experimenting with papermaking in her final year of art college in Sydney in 1981. It was, however, her posting as a teacher “out bush” in 1982 – to Belyuen Community on the eastern side of Darwin’s Cox Peninsula – that proved a seminal moment. Aboriginal women introduced her to traditional basket-making techniques and the use of fibre plants and bush dyes. These experiences were reflected in her first papermaking projects and signalled a life-long engagement with the local plant kingdom as the well-spring for her art. Today, both “Indigenous and early colonial knowledge” remain sources for her ongoing experimentation with plant fibre, pigments and dyes.

Jobling is a member of the International Association of Hand Papermakers and Paper Artists (IAPMA), a leading organisation founded in Düren, Germany in 1986. Whilst paper history and its production are aspects of IAPMA’s activities, the central focus is paper as an art form and as a contemporary artistic medium. Jobling’s practice encompasses historical, botanical, seasonal and climatic research, sourcing and harvesting fibre plants in the field, testing traditional bush dyes and identifying the specific properties of various species of plants for their creative potential. To date, she has experimented with more than 60 local plant varieties, both native and exotic.

Jobling’s oeuvre, encompassing 2D relief works and 3D installations or sculptures, extends orthodox notions of “paper art”. Her practice reflects an ecological conscience and a concern for the threatened despoliation of the natural environment by irresponsible urban development, lending an inherent political edge to her work. Yet it is the sensual, tactile and artisanal nature of her medium, and her love of paper’s versatility and its limitless aesthetic possibilities, that render it more that “just a substrate for ideas”. Combining “texture, translucence, fragility and strength”, paper calls for a “haptic” response to the world in which we live. In Jobling’s words:
I love the process from beginning to end: the research, the connections to the land past and present, the influence of the seasons, the harvesting and nurturing of the fibre plants. Each plant produces a certain quality of paper with different properties that can be blended to achieve a specific result … I love listening to large sheets of paper drying! … My passion is watermarks, “hidden” images in paper which reference ownership, craftsmanship, a time and place. These images or text add another layer of meaning. I build up layers of colour by dipping a watermarked mould many times, often using found objects.
In 2008 Jobling was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to investigate hand papermaking and “specialist papers for printmakers”, and has since experimented extensively in combining printmaking with handmade paper. For the drypoint component of works like Monsoon 2013, she uses a sandblaster, an engraving tool and solvents to cut into plastic printing plates, to create a desired image. The “watermark” technique involves pouring thin layers of coloured pulp, one on top of the other, and then pressing them into a finished sheet, the “watermark” impressions caused by variations in density of the paper or introduced elements.

Jobling has exhibited nationally and internationally since 1990, participating in residencies, workshops and papermaking symposia throughout Australia, and in West Timor, the Philippines and most recently the USA (IAPMA, Watermarks Conference in Cleveland, Ohio, 2012). She also took part in Replant (2006), a significant cross-cultural project (and related exhibition) exploring the scientific, cultural and social aspects of Indigenous plant species in the Daly River region.

Anita Angel
Curator, Charles Darwin University Art Collection & Art Gallery
November 2013


Artist’s CV & Exhibition Statements, courtesy Nomad Art, Parap, Northern Territory

W IAPMA, Members Gallery – Winsome Jobling

International Association of Hand Papermakers and Paper Artists (IAPMA)
Watermarks Conference, Cleveland Ohio USA, 2012

W Barthulha Webs, Katherine, Northern Territory

ABC NEWS – 7.30NT, transcript of interview with artist by Louisa Rebgetz, “Breathing New Life into Paper”, 10 February 2012

Replant: a new generation of botanical art, Nomad Art, Darwin

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