Welcome to #amplifymelanatedstitchers, a series of interviews with embroidery and textile artists of colour. This time, it’s Celia Jayi.
Name: My name is Cecilia Ajayi but I work under the name Celia Jayi
Location: I live in Essex, UK with my Hubby and two kids
Preferred medium: Beaded Embroidery
How or where did you learn how to stitch or sew?
My background in textiles started from a young age, My wonderful grandma taught me how to use the sewing machine for the first time, she showed me a few embroidery techniques and I simply fell in love with being creative in particular all the textures and shapes in textiles was especially fascinating to me. I knew then that I wanted to develop my skills further. So, I took the plunge and moved to Brighton to get a degree in Textiles.
Do formal concerns, such as perspective and art history, interest you?
Yes, very much. I’m particularly inspired by the movement cubism and I’m a big fan of Picasso, you can see his abstract influence referenced often in my work. I love Cézanne, who is famous for his way of merging foreground and background, and Duchamp, who pioneered portraying multiple perspectives on a single canvas. All these elements fascinate me and I often approach beaded embroidery using the same principles, my work is often multi-layered, textured and has a variety of intriguing viewpoints.
To what extent does your ethnicity influence your work?
My African origin has taught me to be bold, vibrant and expressive when it comes to creating, which is why my pieces are often show pieces heavily embellished and intricate capturing the true essence and beauty of craft.
What other artists inspire you?
I’m a big fan of Yinka Shonibare and Bisa Butler, I love it when artist combine history and social concerns with art, I find it most captivating.
Do you have any secrets in your work you will tell us?
I love and hate the very beginning of working on a new piece. To start with a blank canvas is very daunting at times, I always aim to improve/refine my technique as each finished piece often informs the piece that comes after. So, before I start a new piece, I often study the previous work created, and ask myself questions such as; what aspect of this piece worked? what areas can I develop? what colours stood out? how can I further intensify the 3d element and sense of movement in my work? All these questions help to create the direction for my next body of work.
Where can we find your work?
To see more behind the scenes and work in progress shots and videos you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook @celiajayi. You can also visit my website celiajayi.com to find out more and see what current projects I’m working on.
Are you a stitcher of colour? We would love to share your work with our audience, so please get in touch!