How to be a Fabric Art Rebel

16 Jun 2011

jamie fingal
Jamie Fingal, rebel quilter.
pokey boltonJamie Fingal is a fiber artist who just says no. 

No batting.
No binding.
No pins.
No rules.

She calls herself a rebel quilter. Rebel quilters follow their own path, and if what they end up with is not something you would call a quilt, well, that's OK. For them, art is an improvisational dance and the rhythm is all their own. 

Jamie, in particular, is a quilter who revels in the dance. Her quilts are full of joy.

I love to watch Jamie's creative process. I have picked up so many tips and tricks from hernot just about techniques but about attitude.

"My quilts are about having fun and not taking myself or them too seriously," says Jamie. "I'm all about being bold and bravelet's set the world on fire with quilting!" 

Here are just some of the rules Jamie says "no" to that allow her to say "yes" to her free-spirited muse. 

No turned edges. Instead of turning edges under, Jamie fuses all her fabrics with MistyfuseTM, a lightweight fusible without backing. The suppleness of Mistyfuse allows her to use it even on sheer or delicate fabrics.

No pins. They just slow her down.

jamie fingal rebel quilt
Jamie's multitude of fabrics,
applied with Mistyfuse on felt.
No quilting cottons. Well, not just cottons. Jamie also uses silk dupioni, netting, even newspaper in her quilts. She just applies the Mistyfuse using a silicone sheet to protect the iron and the fabric. 

No batting. Fabric gets fused directly onto black, wool-blend felt. When the stitching is done, she fuses a backing onto the felt.

No mitered corners or matching points. Jamie doesn't bind her quilts, nor does she stitch blocks together. Instead, she joins sections of her quilts with trim or zippers.

No rainbow of thread spools. Jamie uses black thread only, because it adds a design element that looks like drawing.

No fussy stitch motifs. In Jamie's world, the needle is like a pencil that she doodles with in a free-style, free-motion way.

No worries. Overall, Jamie's attitude is, "It doesn't have to be perfect; it just has to be fun."

Now that's a tune I can dance to!

Jamie takes you through her entire design, quilting, and finishing process in her new Quilting Arts WorkshopTM video, "Rebel Quilting: Thinking Outside the Block," now available for download and DVD pre-order.

P.S. Tell me about your rebellious side: what has been your favorite rebel quilting moment?

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Join award-winning art quilter Jamie Fingal to learn her approach to making a quilt with unconventional materials...the rebel way!


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lrond01 wrote
on 16 Jun 2011 5:51 AM

I like a rebell! Aren't they the ones that make the world evolve?

Line from Montréal

ChanellG wrote
on 16 Jun 2011 10:46 AM

As interesting as this work seems, if there's no batting how can the finished project be a quilt? Seems more like fused fabric collage.

Jamie Fingal wrote
on 16 Jun 2011 10:57 AM

Fabrics are fused onto black wool blended felt, and at the end, backed with another piece of wool blended felt in another color.  It's a quilt - just a different way to do it.

on 16 Jun 2011 1:04 PM

I love Jamie's rebellious spirit.  I've been making two layered quilts for quite some time, and haven't had a ticket from the quilt police yet...

on 18 Jun 2011 5:44 AM

What a great article!

I am a quilting "rebel" too in NH and I make contemporary and innovative Memory Quilts and Recycled Quilts! Come on by and check out my website!!


soipaint wrote
on 18 Jun 2011 12:23 PM

be yourself, everyone else is already taken......oscar wilde had it right, that is why i like beibng a rebel quilter .

each one of can find our voice and sing out loud!

lyndalong wrote
on 18 Jun 2011 7:07 PM

I do somthing similar. I use canvas duc instead of batting .Which I fuse to the top, and i fuse that to the backing. If the judges don't like it ,which they don,t I say it is their loss.  This way when I am thread painting I don't need to use a stabilizer or a hoop. I  fuse ribbon on instead of a binding and, then I stitch a pleasing design through it to secure it down. They don,t like that either.I guess I won,t win any ribbons. I usually get honorable mension. Linda Long