Quilt Art and Friends: Q&A with Leslie Jenison & Jamie Fingal

Ever since 2009, artists Jamie Fingal and Leslie Tucker Jenison have curated an annual juried invitational exhibit for a group of artists they call Dinner at Eight. This year's exhibit, with the theme "Rituals," debuted at the 2012 International Quilt Festival in Long Beach, California. Rituals is the fourth installment in a series of quilt art exhibitions from the Dinner at Eight Artists.

quilt artists jamie fingal and leslie jenison
Quilt artists Jamie Fingal (left)
and Leslie Jenison.

I have admired the quilt art from these exhibits for years, and was curious to learn more about the two quilt artists whose passion for art quilts is matched only by their deep friendship and zest for life. Here is an excerpt from the Q&A with them featured in the October/November 2012 issue of Quilting Arts Magazine.

VHD: Your friendship is evident in the blogs you share, the classes that you teach together, and the work that you've done with the Dinner at Eight artists. You work together quite frequently. Is that challenging at times?

quilt art by jamie fingal
'Make a Wish on the Purple House'
art quilt by Jamie Fingal, 60" x 20".
Photo by the artist.

L&J: First of all, since we live in different states, geography alone brings its own set of challenges. But distance can be overcome through frequent phone calls and email. We both bring different strengths to our working relationship. As collaborators, we don't always see eye-to-eye during the jurying process, and frankly, this strengthens the overall quality of the exhibitions we curate. We do agree on the basics of pulling together a cohesive exhibit that works well on a number of levels. This is accomplished remotely by working with an online jurying system. We each have a really goofy, playful streak that seems to be amplified when we are in close proximity!

VHD: That playfulness is infectious! Neither of you shy away from letting your personalities shine through your work. The quilts each of you made for your latest exhibit reflect that joy. The theme of 'Rituals' allowed that to happen. How did you decide on the theme?

L&J: We work closely to narrow down a theme, and choose one that allows for a broad range of interpretation. We try to come up with themes that will inspire artists to work in either abstract or representational styles. The exhibitions are unified through the common theme and a consistent size, and we want the artists to work in a format that they are comfortable with.

VHD: When you are pulling together an exhibit for Dinner at Eight, what is it that you are looking for in the quilts you jury?

quilt art by leslie jenison

'The Coffee Break' art quilt by
Leslie Jenison, 60" x 20".
Photo by the artist.

L&J: We have curated many exhibits and have always found it both a challenge and quite fun to compile the work of many talented quilt artists who use different palettes, styles, and design elements. The mission is always the same-to create a knock-out exhibit with art that reflects the theme, has strong composition, excellent use of color and value, and a well-articulated artist statement. When all of those elements are there, we feel we have achieved our purpose as curators and jurors.

You can view 11 of the 42 Dinner at Eight Rituals art quilts in the October/November issue of Quilting Arts Magazine (including the cover art by Judy Coates Perez). Get your copy of this issue now to see the gallery, read the rest of the Q&A with Leslie and Jamie, and learn art quilting and surface design techniques from more inspiring quilt artists.

P.S. Do you have any quilting rituals? Share them with me in the space below.

Other topics you may enjoy:


Art Quilt, Quilting Daily Blog