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: