Jamie Fingal and Leslie Tucker Jenison
Questions for Curators - Part 2
photo from one of our classes in Houston
Leslie- This sounds flippant but I believe it is the truth: Just go into your studio and make stuff. Don’t worry about outcome or what anyone else thinks: keep playing and experimenting. The best things happen when I ask myself, “What if?”.
Jamie - Start small, and play with fabric and thread. Use the colors, textures and patterns that inspire you. Grow into your art, but the the most important thing is just to do it - practice and have fun.
12. What's your least favorite technique that you still use anyway?
Leslie- I still, occasionally, use discharge paste. I don’t like it because it is stinky and I am skeptical about how safe it really is. So, I use it sparingly, with a respirator, in good ventilation.
Jamie - I am still wondering what to say. I don’t think I have an answer, because I like everything that I do, except for making hanging sleeves, which is not a technique, but I don’t like it just the same.
13. Not counting art quilts, what do you collect?
Leslie- Oh dear. I have a glass fetish. I pick up rocks when I travel (and sometimes bottles of beach sand). I love wind-up toys. I collect my children’s art, and I still have all our “little kid” books. They are so precious to me.
Jamie - Don’t get me started. There are many things that I used to collect, but those have taken their course. I still collect old suitcases, metal boxes, unique dishes, cups, and weird stuff that I can repurpose.
14. Which great artwork would you love to hang in your own home? (A game also known as, "What would you steal from the MoMA?")
Leslie- What a great question! If I could have Matisse, Raoul Dufy, or one of the other fauvists, I would be pretty happy. I adore Mary Cassatt’s work as an Impressionist painter, and I think she was very “bad ass” to be in such a boy’s club!
Jamie - Do I have to pick just one? Kandinsky abstract, but would love a Degas with the dancers and Mary Cassatt just tugs at my heart.
15. What moment or event started both of you to go into the Art Quilt direction?
Leslie- I am from a traditional quilt making background. I still love the heritage of traditional work. I evolved from that genre because I wanted to create unique pieces. I’m not as interested in making functional textiles anymore, but still do make the occasional “quilt quilt”. I’m simply MORE interested in the tactile, 3-dimensional qualities that are possible with the quilt as art.
Jamie - I made traditional quilts, but always with some sort of twist, because it was hard for me to conform to the rules..no big surprise there. I just wanted more, and when I learned to fuse, my whole quilting world changed, to take me to the next level. I still love traditional quilts, it is just that I don't want to make them.
16. What artistic endeavors were you involved in before Art Quilts?
Leslie- I’m a painter in addition to being a quilt maker.
Jamie - Watercolorist, made jewelery and decoupage, and I still do these things, but at a lesser degree.
17. Describe your process for choosing a theme for your exhibits.
Leslie- We have a list of possible themes. We are always tossing things around. As I stated before, we try to consider a theme that is broad enough to encompass both representational and abstract interpretations.
Jamie - We throw a bunch a themes around, add to, delete from and then determine if a certain theme could be interpreted into fabric from both of our points of view, and then go beyond that. I mean if we can't come up with an idea for an art quilt - then how could anyone else? Things to consider.
18. What are the future plans for Dinner at Eight?
Leslie/Jamie -We hope to broaden the scope of venues for the exhibitions and we are currently exploring some options in addition to the quilt festivals. Stay tuned!
19. Jamie: How do you feel that having a studio outside of the home has impacted your work? What are the pros and cons?
Moving my studio out of the house was the best thing I have ever did (5+ years), because it gave me balance between home and studio. I go to my studio Mon-Fri, and am home at night, to cook dinner and enjoy evenings with my husband. Sometimes I bring home handwork or my sketchbook. Weekends spent at home, and it is rare that I work in my studio on the weekends. It has given me more focus, and freedom to explore my art, because I have more room to spread out. I am packing up my current small studio, and moving to an industrial space with one room consisting of 1000 sf. The con would be no a/c or heating, but I am sure I can work around that. It's my dream space!
Leslie: Do you feel that the geographical area that an artist works in has any effect on their work? That is the light, topography, culture, regional differences etc?
Leslie-My personal response is yes, absolutely. Perhaps this is the artists’ version of “You are what you eat”! As an artist, I tend to believe that my work is a response to my own history, my environment, my daily experiences.
20. Where are you guys scheduled to teach?
Leslie/Jamie -We took a teaching break this year, and frankly, it was a good thing we did: Jamie experienced the loss of both parents and the subsequent aftermath of dealing with all that flows from that. We both had our youngest children graduate from college. Personally, I have had an upswing in commitments with the Alliance for American Quilts and the Surface Design Association, as well as some other things. For a year that was supposed to be quieter it has been anything but! Jamie - I've enjoyed making quilts, exploring, and heading up a sub-committee for SAQA. I do miss the students! Maybe next year!