Textile artist Rebecca Jobson is based in Melbourne. She found isolation to be a period with conflicting emotions. The journal represents her keen observation on the changing daily routine under lockdown. Rebecca remade some detailed photographs from her isolation routine with woven technique, experimenting with the visual experience.
We asked Rebecca three questions about her experience of isolation, completing this journal and her hope for the future. These are her responses:
Describe the experience of the period of isolation for you.
This period of isolation has been a real rollercoaster. Primarily it’s been a period of overwhelming and often conflicting emotions. Lucky to have a job, food on the table, family and friends, and a roof over my head while also suffocating under the pressure of too many tasks, relationships, people, tasks. Seeing the best of people coming together to help each other with kindness and creativity while witnessing the inevitable failings of a culture and society rife with gaping divisions of race, gender and class and a federal government seemingly incapable of managing either the crisis or a recovery. Particularly in Melbourne it’s been intense - I’ve never loved or appreciated my local community so much, nor have I ever been so fatigued or deflated by the selfishness of entitled humans. The simplest way of me describing this period of isolation for me is everything it normally is but turned up to eleven – and the much-vaunted moments of ‘personal insight’ have NOT made up for the sheer weight of the cumulative exhaustion of just pushing through each day.
What does your book represent and how did you approach the challenge?
The book and the challenge of making it was really an incredibly welcome lifeline and change of focus from the daily routine of work and home schooling. With limited time and resources in a strict Melbourne lockdown I opted to keep things incredibly simple and aim to record something specific about my daily Covid-19 routine - walk the hood, photograph the details, celebrate the overlooked. What I really enjoyed was taking what is usually the subject material for my woven textile work and transforming it into the object material for woven work. The Design Isolate project unlocked something new and exciting that continues to develop post completion.
What do you hope will change in Australia as a result of the pandemic?
I hope the thing that will change as a result of this pandemic is that we actually DO change. If we all crawl out of this thing hoping to return to a pre-pandemic status quo, that will be the biggest disaster of all.
Rebecca has worked at the Australian Tapestry Workshop since 2017 in the role of Operations Manager. She has Bachelor of Arts in Textiles from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and has worked in the local and international craft/design industry for over 20 years - specialising in strategic development, business management, sector advocacy and education. Previous roles include Sector Development Manager and Acting CEO at Craft Victoria. She has extensive experience in curatorial projects and public programs that explore her interest in textiles, slow craft and sustainable design, and her writing on contemporary craft including co authorship of The Craft Companion which has been published internationally in multiple language. As Operations Manager Rebecca oversees the day to day business of the Australian Tapestry Workshop, with key areas of responsibility in finance, administration and tapestry production.
View Rebecca Jobson's journal here:
Image: Rebecca Jobson, Design/Isolate Journal (detail), 2020.