Saturday, June 25, 2011

Featured Artist: Jamie Fingal

“Square Dance” by Jamie Fingal (2010)
28.5 x 38.5"

Now here’s some art that will put a smile on your face and brighten your mood. It is the work of Jamie Fingal. Jamie, a full-time studio artist from Orange, California, works in fiber and mixed media, and uses lots of different kinds of fabric, plus many unconventional materials – zippers, metal washers, and safety pins – in her work. It is wonderful to look at from a distance, but even more fabulous up close. 

Jamie started using metal and unusual trims in her work in about 2007, with her piece entitled “Heavy Metal.”  This piece was in the Studio Art Quilt Associates’ (SAQA) Transformations ’07 exhibition, and is now owned by Gregory Maguire, author of several novels, most notably, Wicked:

“Heavy Metal” by Jamie Fingal (2007)
20.5 x 29.5"
Jamie is also a big supporter of the Girl Scouts. Her work called “Green is in My Nature” was printed on ABC Bakers’ Girl Scout cookie bag, which was a giveaway. The company printed 15,000 copies using the upper portion of Jamie’s quilt on it for the 2009 cookie campaign.  Oh, how I wanted one of them, having been a Girl Scout myself, and loving Jamie’s work.

“Green is in My Nature” by Jamie Fingal
18 x 45" (2007)

Jamie’s new DVD with Quilting Arts – officially available on June 28 – is called “Rebel Quilting: Thinking Outside the Block.” Her DVD covers deciding on color palettes for a piece, and lots of design basics. Jamie demonstrates how she designed and constructed one piece, “Square Dance,” in four panels separated by different trims. There is also a section on free-motion machine quilting, with Jamie showing  how she quilts the panels and adds the trims.

The price is $19.95, and you can purchase a copy on the Interweave website. A video download is also available for $14.95. Here’s a clip:

As soon as I watched the clip, I had one question for Jamie: How did you get away with blue nail polish?!? (Colored nail polish is a definite no-no on the information Quilting Arts sends each artist who is doing a DVD. Clear only, please.) I guess that’s part of being a Rebel Quilter.

A shot from Jamie’s DVD

I chatted with Jamie about her DVD; here’s what she had to say:

ME: You call yourself a “rebel quilter.” Why?
JAMIE: I use unconventional materials to construct my quilts and I like to think outside the block. It's not just about making an abstract art quilt, it's more about design, color, and balance, and it these elements can be applied to making any kind of art quilt, no matter what the subject is. There is a lesson on fusing with Mistyfuse, using all kinds of fabrics.

“Molar Eclipse” by Jamie Fingal
ME: I’ve met you, and you are definitely a fun-loving person. Does this side of you show up in the DVD?
Jamie’s portrayal of herself, in fabric

JAMIE: I am serious about what I do, but I want to have fun, and most importantly, I want the everyone who makes a quilt to enjoy the journey and not strive to be perfect. I had the opportunity to share all of my favorite quilting tools and why I use them. What could be better? Design, color, and free motion machine quilting. The rebel in me loves to use trims and zippers, and viewers will learn what I look for when buying them, and then how to sew them onto your quilt.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” by Jamie Fingal
Made for Robert Kaufman traveling exhibit using Kona Cotton solids
ME: And your partner in crime, Leslie Tucker Jenison, was there, too, shooting her new DVD. I bet you got into some mischief!
JAMIE: I have to say that both Leslie and had fun on the set, amusing ourselves with props, each other and everyone around us. My muse on the teleprompter was Julie Andrews from “The Sound of Music,” and since I love music, she was the best choice. Helen Gregory [who helps produce the DVDs] and I sang a few bars of  “A few of my favorite things” to get me in the spirit of things. And then there are the Barbies – they are on the shelf on my set, but Leslie had a brilliant idea to make different settings for the girls at the beginning of each chapter on her set. And there was this amazing prop room behind the scenes that I could utilize, which was totally fun!

“Divine Inspiration” (detail) by Jamie Fingal
Part of the “Sacred Threads” exhibition, 2005 

“Divine Inspiration” (detail) by Jamie Fingal
Part of the “Sacred Threads” exhibition, 2005
ME: What do you like best about teaching, and why did you want to make this particular DVD?
JAMIE: I love it when a student has their own a-ha moment, when they get it, because something inside them has seen it in a new light. I've always been a pretty open person and am willing to share my process of making my rebel quilts. I have something to say and to share. And it's not like I want people to mirror what I design and make, but I would like for them to bring their own personal style to the table and incorporate the elements that I teach, into their own work. I have a passion for what I do as a contemporary quilt maker, and I thought it would be interesting to share a different way to construct an art quilt, which I hope will be a liberating experience. I do not strive for perfection, but for the pleasure of honoring each step of the process, and having fun while I do it.

“Apron as Personal Armor” by Jamie Fingal
For the third year, Jamie and Leslie Tucker Jenison have  co-curated exhibitions at International Quilt Festival in Long Beach (the first two went on to the Festival in Houston, and they are hoping that this year’s exhibition, called “The Space Between,” will get sponsorship and go to Houston, too). The exhibitions are organized under Dinner at Eight Artists. Here is Jamie’s piece for the “Under the Surface” exhibition in 2010:

“Under Foot” by Jamie Fingal
Part of the “Beneath the Surface” exhibition
“Under Foot” (detail) by Jamie Fingal

Here’s something else amazing about Jamie. She’s been the Alliance For American Quilts’ grand prize winner in 2010 and 2011! Here are her winning quilts:
“Metal Measures” by Jamie Fingal
This piece was the Alliance For American Quilts grand prize winner in 2010
“Soul Sisters” by Jamie Fingal (2011)
This piece was the Alliance for American Quilts’ 2011 grand prize winner
I love the hand-dyed fabrics and the amazing color choices in these pieces:

“Spilling Over” by Jamie Fingal

“Exuberance” by Jamie Fingal
donated to Studio Art Quilt Associates for auction in 2010

“Seeing Red” by Jamie Fingal
This piece was on the cover of Jamie’s book, Embellished Mini Quilts
Find out more about Jamie here:
Jamie’s website:
Jamie’s book:
Jamie’s blog:

Monday, June 20, 2011

Artist Profile: Leslie Tucker Jenison

cotton broadcloth by Leslie Tucker Jenison

Allow me to introduce you to Leslie Tucker Jenison. I met Leslie for the first time last August, when we were both in Cleveland to film segments for Quilting Arts TV. I was fascinated with her art and her process.

Leslie’s passion is surface design; she makes quilts, art cloth, and mixed media pieces that are a combination of paper and cloth. Although most of her work is on the quilted surface, she has been introducing paper into her work increasingly in the past several years.  
“I love to juxtapose paper with cloth,” says Leslie, “as it adds additional textural interest to the work. It is also a way to create more personalized imagery.”

“Shreds of a Story” (18x40")
cotton broadcloth, paper laminated to cloth, silk, photo transferred to cloth
Leslie shares lots of her surface design techniques on her new DVD with Quilting Arts – officially available on June 28 – is called “DIY Surface Design: Printmaking Made Easy with Everyday Objects.” The price is $19.95, and you can purchase a copy on the Interweave website. A video download is also available for $14.95.

On the DVD, Leslie shows how to create patterns and marks on cloth and paper using everyday objects. Demonstrations include:
  • preparing thickened dyes
  • screen printing
  • batching
  • laminating paper to cloth
  • soy wax printing
  • gelatin monoprinting
  • stamping
cotton broadcloth
Leslie demonstrates each technique using the same group of household objects throughout, so you can see how to achieve different effects using the same object. Here’s a clip from the DVD:

I wanted to get the inside scoop, so I asked Leslie to chat with me about shooting the DVD.

ME: What did you like best about shooting your new DVD?
LESLIE: I loved the entire process of preparing, then filming the DVD workshop. In my former life as a registered nurse, I did a terrific amount of community health education. I have always loved to teach and facilitate workshops. It has been an exciting challenge to bring that skill set into the world of mixed media surface design. As a writer and instructor, one of the toughest bits is to edit information down to an understandable “capsule,” and I love that challenge!

“Night Garden” (42x72")
art cloth: cotton broadcloth and silk organza
Night Garden (detail)
ME: Was there any part of it that was hard?
LESLIE: Organizing supplies and samples for transport to the production facility was a bit scary, because I was afraid I would forget something important. With many surface design supplies one cannot simply run out and pick up this or that at the local store! So, I obsessed a bit about my materials. I enjoyed making specific samples for the workshop, and I packed quite a few quilts because I was encouraged to personalize the set, which was super fun!

“Fire: Urban Inferno/Urban Comfort” (17x22")
Cotton broadcloth
ME: Did anything memorable happen during the shoot?
LESLIE: Thanks to my teaching partner, Jamie Fingal, there is a special set of props in the shelving behind me. The viewer might want to pay attention to the many moods of Barbie from one chapter to the next during the workshop. I'm just sayin’…

ME: What is most interesting or unique about what you cover on the DVD?
LESLIE: As an artist I am interested in the possibilities of everyday items as mark-making tools. This is certainly not unique to me: many surface design artists use found objects to make marks on paper and cloth, as well as create their own unique tools. Silk screens, thermofax screens, and hand-made stamps: these are great ways of creating personalized work. In addition, we as artists can use a variety of objects that are intended for another purpose to create beautiful marks on cloth and paper, and this was the focus of my workshop.

I did not invent this wheel! Chad Alice Hagan, a wonderfully talented artist who specializes in felted constructions, once told me that if you think you have invented a new technique, you probably just haven't done enough research! One of my main themes in the workshop dvd is to demonstrate how the same tool can be used in several ways to create marks. For example:  I use the top and bottom of a plastic tomato container to apply soy wax to create a resist on the surface of cloth and paper, to manipulate paint on a gelatin plate for monoprinting, and as a stamp for paint.

My goal is to invite to viewer to look at objects for their potential as mark-making tools. One does not have to invest a lot of money in printing tools in order to create unique cloth and paper.  These things are a way of building visual depth and texture to cloth and paper.

ME: What you like best about teaching?
LESLIE: I feel honored and humbled to have been asked to develop a workshop DVD. I enjoyed the challenge of creating a visual workshop to share with viewers. Creating unique cloth and paper to use in my work has become an essential step. It has afforded me the ability to embed personal meaning into my quilts and mixed media work, and I am happy to share that with others. Nothing is more thrilling than offering information to a student and watch them get excited or have a big AHA! moment.

I have been very fortunate to learn from some truly wonderful teachers, many of whom I have the honor to count as friends.  It seems to me the more we give generously of our own knowledge, the more we all receive.  Each artist will put their personal mark on the work they make, consciously or not.  We might have similar tools, but it is how we use them that makes the work our own.  My goal as a facilitator is to get others excited about the possibilities and mentor them so they can find their own path.  If I can do that for even one person, I'll be happy. 

“Butterfly Airmail” (6x4")
cotton broadcloth, mixed media,
“Heartland: Scattered Landscape” (detail)
paper laminated to polyester sheer, cotton facial cloths

silk and cotton cloth
“Warehouse 104” (18" x 10" x 8") part of an artist collaboration,
“An Artist Village” that will debut in Tactile Architecture 2011.
Corrugated plastic, facial wash cloths, plastic packaging, grommets, paper laminated to cloth.
This structure can be opened up to fold flat, though it is constructed into one unit.
“Childhood Garden” (27 x 18 ¾")
silk habotai and organza, cotton broadcloth, lutradur 

art paper laminated to polyester sheer

"Nesting" (9 x9")
mixed media on paper
“InVitro #5:  Microscopy” (27 x 50 ½")
cotton broadcloth and silk organza
“Hummers” (10 x 8")
Mixed media page from an art journal. Original watercolor.
silk charmeuse
silk organza and cotton broadcloth with soy wax batik
“Heartland #5: Field Burn” (24 x 12" framed)
bamboo batting, silk organza, cotton facial cloths
“Mail Art” (7 x 5" framed)
mixed media collage
“What Remains” (36x48")
paper laminated to cloth, felt, bamboo batting, silk and cotton broadcloth
“What Remains” (detail)
“Japanese Tea Garden” (49 x 27")
silk charmeuse, silk organza
Leslie co-curates exhibitions of fiber art with Jamie Fingal. Together, they formed Dinner at Eight Artists, which has brought spectacular exhibits to International Quilt Festival in the past few years. The latest, “The Space Between,” will debut at International Quilt Festival in Long Beach, California, in July.

I’ll have a post about Jamie and her work in the next day or so.

Find out more about Leslie here:
Leslie’s blog:
Dinner at Eight Artists’ blog:

Friday, June 17, 2011

You can pre-order my book now

My second book will be here very soon! If you want an autographed copy, and you want it as quickly as possible, you can pre-order it on my website here now. I'll ship the books out as soon as I get them!

Point, Click, Quilt! Turn Your Photos into Fabulous Fabric Art will be released by C&T Publishing in mid-July. It includes 16 artful projects inspired by my digital photographs. I teach how to compose and shoot dynamic digital photos from a quilter's perspective. There are lots of fun exercises to help you become a better photographer, and step-by-step directions to help you turn your photos into small art quilts, both realistic and abstract. Most of my projects use fused batik and hand-dyed fabrics, but four projects include innovative materials (paint, Tyvek, Angelina fibers, and foils).

The book is 112 pages, and retails for $27.95. My shipping prices are $5 to the U.S. and Canada, and $11 to anywhere else.  

Monday, June 13, 2011

“Modern Blocks”

I am proud to announce that I have a block in a new book by Stash Books called Modern Blocks: 99 Quilt Blocks from Your Favorite Designers. The designs in the book include “new ways to think about the classics, plus some brand new blocks you have not seen before.” All are 12" blocks, include complete cutting instructions. Most are beginner-friendly. This will be a great book for block swaps. It includes pieced, appliquéd and embroidered designs. The book will be available in October 2011. 224 pages, $24.95

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Jane LaFazio workshop at Random Arts

I just spent a relaxing, inspiring day with Jane LaFazio at Random Arts in Saluda, NC. I was there to take Jane’s “Recycled Circles” workshop. That’s my project – in progress — above. I’m definitely going back to Saluda soon; it is a charming little town in the mountains. Jane Powell, the owner of Random Arts, reported that it will soon be in a new location on the main street of Saluda.

Look a this great wood and metal door! Jane rusted it herself. Behind that door is a cute little courtyard that leads to the back door:

We started by building our backgrounds. Here’s Mama Crow working on hers: 

Mama Crow (her nickname) has been a wonderful supporter of my blog – and a Facebook friend – for a long time, so it was wonderful to meet her at the workshop! She was wearing a cool shirt she had embroidered (and in this photo, I'm wearing one of Jane Powell’s aprons):

This is the background that Jane LaFazio made to demonstrate her techniques:

And here she is demo-ing one technique. While she looks rather somber in this photo, Jane has a very warm, sunny personality, and the workshop was laid back while each student worked at her own pace.

This shows some of our backgrounds out in the sun to dry:

Isn’t this one fab?

In the last half hour, Jane spent time with students making suggestions for improvements, and playing with the way the four quadrants of the circles could be arranged:

Jane is teaching at some amazing retreats in Mexico and Italy in the next few years. How I’d love to do her Mexican one Oct. 27 - Nov. 4, 2012! Check out the georgeous photographs of the last retreat there on the Tesoro del Corazon blog. You can buy Jane’s artwork at her Etsy Shop.

Random Arts has all sorts of lovely flowers and plants around the building, like these hollyhocks:

and these daylilies:

a lacecap hydrangea:

and blackberries almost ready to pick and eat!

Many thanks to both Janes for a fabulous day!