JacobsEye is a new Etsy shop that opened this December. I was walking to work through Fort Greene one day on a route I usually don’t take. An unpretentious little shop on Dekalb Avenue caught my attention and I went inside. It was Jacob’s Eye. It’s a place full of striking combinations of fabric, reggae music and friendly people. I picked up several of the purses on the table and marveled at their workmanship. Each stitch was made by hand and had its own special character. Colors, textures and shapes were carefully chosen. The combinations of color are not run of the mill — they are not shy.
I wanted one right then, but I asked him if he had heard of Etsy, and pressed on to work. About a month later I was using Shop Local and was delighted to see that he had opened a shop and become an Etsian! A Rastafarian Etsian at that! Etsy’s first Rastafarian? Maybe! Unfortunately, he had to close his real life shop, but I am excited that he can reach a worldwide audience from Etsy and I wish him the greatest success! I’ll make my first New Years resolution to carry more work-of-art purses — including his.
NOTE: That’s Erykah Badu with him in the photo!!!!
Here is an interview with him by his friend Jessy Smith, which JacobsEye also uses in his profile. She is “a choreographer and the artistic director of POW! Arts, an all female dance and design group.” Many of the ladies you see modeling JacobsEye are affiliated with the company:
When did you know you were an artist?
When I was about 9 and living in Jamaica, I made little wooden furniture for my sister’s doll house. Looking back on that now, I know that I am following my true life’s path. I am artist who creates with his hands.
What is your inspiration?
My inspiration is life, I love it. Inspiration is all around me.
Tell me about your logo.
The logo is a tree and the leaves are all of the nations. The root is a hand, representing wisdom. Every foundation has to be strong like the root. For my life to be strong I have to live with an undercurrent of wisdom. The eye at the center of the tree is biblical. It’s spiritual. It is god seeing through me, through Jacob’s Eye. But it also represents One God who is moving within everyone. [part of the Rastafarian beliefs]
I notice that you always listen to culture music (reggae) when you are working, can you talk a little about that?
It’s has to be Bob (as in Marley). It’s has to be positive, spiritual, LOVE music which keeps me strong on a day-to-day basis. This positivity must transfer into the work. You know, “Don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing…”
What about your materials?
I love leather. I like to experiment with many different textures and I am especially inspired by the colors. I’m not directly a lady, so I am always asking what they like, what colors, what styles, what prints. I have to get feedback about the work from the ladies, because they are the ones who wear it everyday, not me.
What tools do you use?
Scissors, needle, thread and a puncher
You’re store has been open for 10 years, what has kept you going all this time?
I play soccer to let out all the stuff that I have gathered throughout the week. Leave the workshop, go to Fort Greene Park to play soccer, get it all out, and rewind to go back again.