Meet Cover Artist Yemaya Jones

Meet Cover Artist Yemaya Jones“I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but spent some of my artistic, formative years in Brooklyn, New York. My mother was a talented artist that often painted murals on our bedroom walls. She did not receive much recognition, but encouraged her children to develop their talents and share them with others. I am married to artist John Obafemi Jones and am mother to five amazing daughters–Tania, Chandani, Indigo, Eboni and Jade and four grand children! To my delight, one of my five daughters, Indigo, has taken an interest in the art of fabric dying, and is quite skillful!
My education degree is from Long Island University, but I’ve taken many post-graduate classes in fashion, design, and fabric dying. To support my passion and explore new techniques, I have taken classes and conducted workshops in the Virgin Islands and the US for both children and adults. These classes have been at Parson School of Design and Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, Penland School of Arts and Craft in Ashville N.C., and Arrowmont in Gatlingburg, Tennessee. I’ve conducted scarf-dying workshops at a previous studio here, and at the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts in Frederiksted.
Meet Cover Artist Yemaya Jones“I’m a recent retiree from the St. Croix Educational Complex where I enjoyed thirty-four years of teaching mathematics, history, fine arts and, for the last twelve years, textile design. Now, I have been able to open a studio at 1A Market Street in Frederiksted, through the courtyard behind Polly’s and Franklin’s. Here I design, produce and sell unique one-of-a-kind clothing, scarves, pillows, and wall hangings, all made of natural fibers–silk, cotton, rayon, and wool. Starting in September 2016 there will be workshops at my studio available in various fabric altering techniques.
I mostly dye, block print, batik, and embellish natural fabrics. Symbols, masks and abstract shapes are often incorporated into my fabric. I use techniques from West Africa, India, Japan and Devine Inspirations. Living on St Croix has completely influenced my use of color with its rich, vibrant Caribbean hues.
The technique I use most frequently is called Itajime– a folding clamping process. The fabric is not emerged in the dye, but held in my hand. I apply the dye with eye droppers, turkey basters, and brushes. This allows me to have a lot of control over where the dye goes while still enjoying the serendipity of the flow of the colors merging together. The clamping allows me to imprint these masks, symbols, and shapes.
Another favorite techniques is extracting color from dark fabric. Extracting leaves a very interesting patina of browns and tans on the fabric. Batiking with hot wax and block printing are also used to embellish my clothing. I particularly like to block print ancestral figures. I feel it’s very important for people to honor and remember those who came before. One of the symbols I use is an Adinkra Symbol from Ghana West Africa, called Sankofa which means ‘go back and fetch it.’
On St. Croix, I have exhibited at the Good Hope School Art Shows, Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts exhibits, including my one-women retrospective “A Dyers Journey,” Fort Frederik, Customs House, and Art @ Top Hat. Off island, I have exhibited at The Smithsonian, Washington, D.C., Rosa Park Museum in Alabama, Atlanta Black Arts Festival, Brooklyn NY Festival, Sunstyle Show in Barbados, and Art Festival St. Kitts.
I have been fortunate to have my work featured in magazines like Essence, Emerge, Panache, and Caribbean World. I have participated in fashion shows on St. Kitts and Barbados, and in Washington, D. C., Philadelphia, New York, and Atlanta. The NAFAD (National Association of Fashion & Accessory Designers) have honored me with numerous awards. While there are celebrities that own my work, I am most humbled by the amount of local folks that are collectors!
Other than at my studio, The Top Hat, in Christiansted, is where you can currently purchase my scarves and sarongs.”
Yemaya Jones Studio, Frederiksted
Thursday – Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm
and on Cruise Ship Days

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