Jaye McNair Obaseki

Jaye’s art career began with a love of textiles and a desire to make fashionable clothing. She developed her craft making men’s neckties, bow ties, hats, costumes and one of a kind apparel, which I called art-to-wear.   

Jaye is a graduate of Drexel University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Design and University of the Arts where she earned a Master of Arts and teaching certification, and finally a PhD from Florida State University.

In 1988 Jaye started the Obaseki clothing line to pay her way through undergraduate school. It featured her hats crafted from original textiles of West Africa. They were sold at many stores in Philadelphia including the infamous Ama Zulu and Stiltwalker Marketplace. The Obaseki line was featured in fashion shows but started to take a different turn reflecting one of Jaye’s passions-quilting.  She patched small pieces of fabric within her garments.  

Unbeknownst to her, she was being guided by her family tradition of quilting.  Her interest and knowledge of the African American quilting tradition peaked.   

During her research training in graduate school, the connection between quilting and storytelling came alive for Jaye.  She reached back into her childhood love of listening to the stories of her maternal grandmother and her love of textiles and decided upon quilting as a method to tell stories she has collected.

Jaye-Tremille McNair Obaseki writes of her work, "This opportunity to build upon my love of visual storytelling to further develop my craft as a visual story teller telling stories of everyday people like her grandmothers.

Boom! Boom! Booooom Crackle! Nana’s stories, coffee ice cream, patches of fabric, self-determination, lined paper, mud cloth, hand stitching, Kente cloth, Boom! Crackle Boom Boom! Faith Ringgold, Harriet Powers, Geesbend quilts, Bifal of Senegal, The Congo, Yoruba storytelling… Odu Ifa… Images, Icons and Text  

I patch and stitch

There’s a story behind every work of art."