Ayissa Textile Designs imprints on local market

todayMarch 20, 2023 294

Designer Ayissa Burnett

As we continue to celebrate women this month, the National Cultural Foundation is highlighting the journey and work of artist and designer Ayissa Burnett in this two-part feature. Next we will feature her daughter Shanika Burnett who is also an artist and designer.

Talented artist and designer Ayissa Burnett’s face lights up as she speaks about her business.

She is the textile and fibre artist behind Ayissa Texitle Designs, located at #8 Pelican Craft Centre. She creates a range of home goods which includes, but is not limited to, soft furnishing pillows, throw cushions and table cloths. She also offers accessories, shirts, scarfs, shawls, wall pieces and a commercial line of mugs which feature her fabric designs.

The artist’s pieces are not only handmade but ecofriendly as well. They are created with the best all natural fibres and dye products available on the market.

“We were certified in 2016 by the Future Centre Trust as a green business so we take care and we pay a lot of attention to the products that we are using, how they impact the environment…how sustainable they are…” she explained.

Products on offer at Ayissa Texitle Designs

Burnett has been an active artist and teacher for about 30 years. She started out when she was a young girl by learning crochet and knitting from her aunt.

Back then, she also did smocking as a hobby. After, she started to sew but finding the materials to work with was a challenge so she got into designing her own fabrics for her garments.

She gains inspiration and bounces ideas with her daughter, Shanika Burnett who also designs under her label Shakad Designs. She creates the fabric while her daughter makes the products.

Despite Ayissa Textile Designs and Shakad Designs being two separate businesses, they often collaborate. In 2022, their joint efforts could be viewed at the NCF’s Wearable Art Exhibition.

“After a while, Shanika came along and she was really into the fashion and she started to create pieces that were beyond my imagination…she was doing a fantastic job with what she was coming up with in terms of designs for the textiles…[I] put all of my energy then into designing the fabrics that she worked with and then we came up with the line of soft furnishings,” she said with a smile.

Burnett’s other source of inspiration is her immediate surroundings. The colours in her work especially reflect a lot of the environment.

“Sometimes standing by my door and looking across… as the sun goes down, that is inspiration… seeing the water, the different shades of blue you get on a given day, those are sources of inspiration,” she said.

Curtains made by Ayissa Textile Designs

Additionally, her work uses the ancient techniques of batiking and tie dying.

“Years ago, the NCF had a training programme where they brought in a textile artist from West Africa and that too really was a springboard in further development for me in terms of the textiles… that helped me take it to another level in terms of designing and patterning…,” she said.

Over the years, she has participated in other NCF workshops such as the Adinkra Workshop in 2003 and more recently, the Accelerate to Export Symposium 2022. Furthermore, she has been an instructor for NCF’s Community Development Craft Workshop and Youth Achieving Results Visual Art Programme, a judge at the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts and an assistant curator for the Celebrating Textiles Exhibition.

As someone who has worked and taught with the NCF on multiple occasion, she recommended that other creatives form a relationship with the NCF as well as pointed out the training opportunities such as the current workshop in leather craft and crochet.

Going forward, she wants to increase and build the presence of Ayissa Textiles and carry on their legacy. Moreover, she wants to continue to share and give back through her workshops.

She shared some advice for those who are interested in taking a similar path: “You have to be passionate about the work you are doing. You have to have that stickability… because the journey has been long and the roads were rough sometimes… it has its ups and downs so you have to be willing to stick it out. Every day is not a picnic and you have to be willing to put your all into it,” she said.

Ayissa Textile Designs can be found on Instagram and Facebook at ayissatextiledesigns or on their website (PR)

Written by: Info NCF

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