Elisabeth Wisén-Jobs was an artist who was known for her flowery embroideries. She was the leading figure of the Jobs artists’ colony in Västanvik, Leksand.
Elisabeth Wisén-Jobs was born in Alsjöholm in Kalmar in 1878. Her father, Gustaf Wisén, was a public school teacher and an organist, but he was best known for his garden which was replete with remarkable flowers and heavily-laden fruit trees. His garden came to play an important role in his daughter’s artistry, as did the old-fashioned garden with its flowerbeds and rose-bushes which surrounded Klockargården in Falun, where she lived from 1907–1925 with music director Anders Jobs, to whom she was married at the time.
Elisabeth Wisén-Jobs gained her basic artistic training at what was then called the Tekniska skolan run by Sofia Gisberg, who also taught a variety of subjects including commercial sewing. It is not known whether Elisabeth Wisén-Jobs completed her training, nevertheless artistic creativity remained an important element of her life. Wherever she lived she painted and decorated the walls and ceilings with pictures, flowers and borders. Once she had decorated her own home she took on work to order for others. She painted canvases, she coloured maps for the mining board, supplied illustrations for fashion magazines, and produced an “allmogemålning”, which was a variation on the painted traditional tapestries of the 1800s, for display at the Konst- och industri (art and industry) exhibition in Norrköping in 1906.
Her marriage to Anders Jobs lasted from 1901 to 1926. They had seven children together, of which all but two entered into the art world. Their mother Elisabeth Wisén-Jobs was the primary source of inspiration for their choice of career. Once she settled in Stockholm with her four youngest children her artistic direction began to follow a new course. She had already begun to make embroideries while living in Falun and these eventually made her famous as an artist. When her daughter Lisbet Jobs was accepted at Högre konstindustriella skolan (Tekniska skolan) she also decided to attend some courses.
Once her daughter had graduated as a ceramicist in 1930 Elisabeth Wisén-Jobs became actively involved in her business. Indeed, both of her younger daughters, Gocken Jobs and Gitt Jobs-Hidle, had also opted to become artists. Her daughters quickly became successful and when the ceramics workshop was no longer sufficient as a retail outlet Lisbet Jobs saw to it that Jobs Keramik och Textil became a registered business in 1934 and opened a shop on Norrlandsgatan 17 in Stockholm. Her mother ran the shop, selling her daughter’s creations and her own flowery embroideries.
Elisabeth Wisén-Jobs was a master embroiderer. It was said that she always had a piece of linen and often a few bits of yarn in her pocket. Whenever she had a spare moment she would pick up her embroidery. She did not follow patterns. The material she embroidered was smooth, and she had often woven it herself, whilst she got her woollen, flaxen or silken yarns from her sister Gertrud, who was a missionary in India. She improvised her work with her needle, creating unique embroideries which reflected her strong and artistic personality.
Elisabeth Wisén-Jobs became one of the leading figures of embroidered art in her day. Her work gained attention and the journalist Ingrid af Ström successfully persuaded her to become a contributor to the Idun journal. Elisabeth Wisén-Jobs’ embroideries were very copiously presented in Idun, often throughout an entire edition. The readership received patterns which had been copied and started, hand-painted not traced onto the material. This meant that no one pattern was the same as another. Thus, one could say, the readership received ‘originals’. Elisabeth Wisén-Jobs’ handicrafts were displayed in Idun for over a decade. These works included cushions decorated with heart-shaped wreaths, tiny children’s bonnets decorated with twinflowers, towels bearing rosebuds and others portraying wild meadow flowers. All of these came with a modern impressionistic touch.
Elisabeth Wisén-Jobs was also involved in the exhibition called När skönheten kom till byn, held at the Nordiska Kompaniet (NK) in 1945. This proved to be her daughters’ public breakthrough as textile designers; at this point they had begun to transfer their ceramic motifs onto textiles. Erik Ljungberg in Floda printed their designs onto cloth sold by the meter whilst their brother, Peer Jobs, took on the printing of headscarves and textile canvases. The exhibition also included embroidered works by Elisabeth Wisén-Jobs as well as weavings by Gitt Jobs-Hidle.
Jobs Keramik och Textil continued its retail business until the early 1940s and then restarted in Västanvik. Several of the family members joined this new venture and Västanvik became the base for what eventually came to be known as the Jobs artists’ colony. Elisabeth Wisén-Jobs naturally became the central figure within the house that she had constructed for herself and her daughter, Gocken Jobs. Gustaf Näsström described Elisabeth Wisén-Jobs’ family role in an article for Dagens Nyheter, published ahead of the NK exhibition, thus: “The colony can be characterised as an enlightened matriarchy in which the core of the family lies with Mrs Elisabeth Jobs, from Småland herself but of ancient Dalarna bloodlines through her marriage to musical director Anders Jobs of Falun. Six daughters and a son have been raised by this modern ‘Stormor i Dalom’ (matriarch in Dalarna), of which at least six are engaged in some kind of artistic endeavour”.
Elisabeth Wisén-Jobs died in Västanvik, Leksand in 1961.