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Needlework Society Newsletter #16  

::Interview with the artist Cecilia Ajayi 
:: future trips  ::

Hello needlework enthusiasts, hope you are fantastic! I know I have been away lately... Needlework Society started as a 2-people idea and we used to share responsabilties but since August I have been doing it alone and struggling to keep up with my own life and job, hobby among other things! I might not be able to delivery a newsletters every month but  I am not stopping this project because a love connecting with other artists and I intend to continuing doing it :)


I had the pleasure to get to know Cecilia's work and interviewed her for our #16 issue. Celia Jayi was set up in 2017 by Cecilia Ajayi, a 2012 Textiles Graduate from Brighton University currently residing in Essex with her husband and son. She grew up in London and due to her love of art and all things craft, she knew she wanted to pursue a career in textiles! So she decided to make the move to Brighton and gain a degree in textiles.

"Despite specialising in knitwear design at Brighton university my true calling was embroidery. I love creating beautiful three dimensional pieces, experimenting with different materials. My passion lies in my colour play and abstract vision".

You will find that my work is always intricately hand beaded using various beads I have collected on my educational studies or trips abroad. Each piece utilising hundreds of beads tirelessly sewn into the canvas in various shades that result in a vision of colour and abstract form.

My aim is create one of kind pieces that timeless not following fashion or trend.

1. How did your love for the crafts begin?

I have always loved art and design and I have always been creative. I fell in love with sewing when I studied Textiles in year 9. I still remember my design and technology teacher name Miss Hall Hinds; I guess thats how much of an impact she had on me! Although she was very strict and held high standards for her students, I always wanted to impress her. I worked extra hard in her class and was determined to leave with an A (which I left with in the end).  It was then that I realised that textiles was something I was quite good at and something I really enjoyed. I then chose to continue studying Textiles for GCSE then this progressed to A-levels, Foundation then finally my degree at Brighton University. 

2. How did you learn it?

Textiles and in particular sewing runs in my family, my gran and aunt taught me how to use a sewing machine and a few embroidery techniques. I then developed my own personal style in school and university using more complicated techniques. 

3. Were the beads always part of your work? When did you incorporated it?

Whilst I was in Uni I specialised in knitwear and I did a few swatches with beads because I always worked in a three dimensional way. I also love the texture and the way one could build and layer with beads. After graduating I fell more in love with embellishment and in turn I solely worked with beads and I gradually stopped knitting altogether.  
4. Do you have a favorite place to embroider?

I quite love embroidering on my sofa whilst watching youbtue videos or listening to motivational podcasts. 
5. What is your favorite piece you have ever done? Can you show us and tell us a bit about it?

I always have one detail of my work that I love which is usually what inspires the next piece. But I quite like my most recent work of my interpretation of Frida Kahlo face, I love the abstract element, colour play and the layers upon layers, it so abstract but yet its still so familiar. 
7. how do you organize your craft time?

I have a 10 month old so my hands are quite full at times, I tend to embroider whilst his sleeping or during his play time. 

8. Tell us about your creative process.

Each piece is usually inspired from the last, so once I have finished, I look at what has worked successfully and what part I like the best, what colours worked? what areas can I further develop? and this is what forms my research. I then begin development and  continue this on a larger scale. 
I saw you also do workshops on your Instagram profile. Can you tell us a bit about it and when is the next one?

I haven't yet started doing workshops but it's something I would love to do in the future once the opportunity comes my way. My reasons for doing this is to inspire a new wave of artist, I want to create pieces which are not only visually beautiful or intricately crafted but I want people to pick up a needle and thread and think of new ways to have fun and explore embroidery!
If you want to connect and find out more about Cecilia and her work you can find her at her website on Instagram and Facebook.
I have always traveled and met artists around the world and I am glad to announce that I will be travelling to some cities in a near future and I would love to meet  needlework  artist from those places. I will be in Lisbon, New York and Sao Paulo.

If you are from thess places or would be there, text me, let's have coffee and embroider together and it is also your chance to buy our beautiful pin in person!!!!

  • Lisbon 25-28 NOV
  • Sao Paulo 12-25 JAN 2019
  • NY 30-31 JAN 2019

Have you grabbed your pin yet? We still have some units of our two favorite pins in the world! Visit our shop and grab yours!!!!

What would you like to see in a newsletter?
Comments and suggestions are always welcome!
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Interview: Alice Mitev
Interview Photos: Cecilia
Proofreading : Alice Mitev &João Takayama
Logo: João Takayama


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Needlework Society · Postfach 90 02 49 · Frankfurt am Main 60442 · Germany

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