Interview: Christi Jay + the Aquarians

Christi of Christi Jay + the Aquarians is one of my extremely talented and inspiring friends. Her designs are beautifully crafted and unique, and I absolutely love them. I received a few of my very own Christi Jay pieces for my birthday, and they are even more amazing in person! So, what does one do when they have a super awesome friend who makes super awesome stuff? Interview them, of course! Enjoy..

LA Inspiration: Tell us about you.

Christi: My name is Christi, I’m from a little beach town in Florida called Jupiter, and I’m now residing in the lovely hills of Echo Park. My friends call me multi-purpose because I’m known to fix just about anything, from your necklace to your jacket to your dining room table (I once had to build my bed frame almost entirely from scratch after a cheap Ikea one left me broke and bed frame-less!)

LAI: When and why did you decide you wanted to start designing?

CJ: I think around 1st grade I changed my “what do you want to be when you grow up?” from art teacher to fashion designer. Around this time my older sister was starting to take fashion courses at the local community college, and I had always looked up to her. I think a love for clothing and shopping was the only thing an 18 year old really has in common with a 6 year old so it made sense that we would bond on this level (and still do!).

My mother was always incredibly frugal, so shopping was where we got our inspiration from (similar to how I look at runway collections today), then we would take a trip to the fabric store and re-create our favorite styles, to varying degrees of success. It started out of necessity and grew into a love for combining beautiful fabrics and textures.

LAI: Your pieces range from wallets to necklaces to dresses – is there one thing you enjoy working on more than the others?

CJ: This is a tough one! It’s like making me choose from one of my children, I love them all :) One thing I wish I could do more of, though, is dyeing, but this is something best done with a large sink in a large garage that you can get really messy, which i don’t currently have!

LAI: What inspires you in the creation process?

CJ: Ancient Mythology, fairytales, imagining what the characters in these stories would be wearing… as a child I had lots of dreams with Mogli from the Jungle Book, so when I design jewelry, I think: “could you see a girl who was raised by wolves wearing this?” making sure that nothing ever ends up too precious. I also look at a lot of jewelry, handbags, and baskets from indigenous cultures, because I think it really shows their connection to the earth, which is something we can all learn from.

As for clothes, I’m most inspired by girls in and around my community, seeing how they style their clothes and come up with new ways of wearing something that they probably found at a thrift store for $3. It’s this kind of frugality that I believe pushes your creativity and forces one to make something fresh out of the same ol’ things. 

LAI: What are your favorite materials to work with?

Leather definitely. Although I have recently started working further with manipulating metal and I love it, leather is the only thing that looks better the more I work with it. I almost always use reclaimed/scrap leather, because I’m a believer in the idea that if you’re going to kill an animal, you should use the entire thing. It’s making sure the life force of the animal lives on after its physical body has passed.

LAI: What has been your biggest challenge as a designer thus far?

CJ: Trying to keep up with all the ideas in my head! I have 5 sketchbooks I’m working in at any given time, and I’m constantly getting side-tracked by making one project then starting another.

Oh yeah, getting enough sleep is a pretty big challenge, because some of my best ideas come to me after midnight, then I can’t sleep until I try it out (or end up waking up really early so that I won’t forget what I dreamed of making).

LAI: Lastly, tell us one totally random thing about you!

CJ: Not so random, but I’m obsessed with crafts… I just finished mosaic-ing my coffee table, before that it was making quilts of my favorite musicians, and I have future plans for some wood art thanks to some recently inherited wood-carving tools. Oh, and I love yoga. Especially kundalini!

Want more Christi Jay + the Aquarians? Find her on Etsy, Facebook, & her awesome blog

Comments 1

  1. melissa wrote:

    perfect LA vibes. I love the crescent necklaces!

    Posted 14 Aug 2012 at 3:16 pm

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