DE­SIGNER PRO­FILE

Denyse Sch­midt is a mas­ter quil­ter with a tal­ent for turn­ing vin­tage in­spi­ra­tion into mod­ern quilt and fab­ric de­signs. Sandi Sawa Ha­zle­wood delves into her cre­ative process...

Love Patchwork & Quilting - - CONTENTS -

Denyse Sch­midt is a mas­ter quil­ter with a tal­ent for turn­ing vin­tage in­spi­ra­tion into mod­ern quilt de­signs. Sandi Sawa Ha­zle­wood delves into her cre­ative process

When did you learn to sew?

I’ve been sewing for as long as I can re­mem­ber! My mother was an ac­com­plished seam­stress and made a lot of her own clothes, as well as clothes for us four kids. I had a toy sewing ma­chine at a very young age, but I re­mem­ber that it was al­ways jammed. At some point, I made it clear that I needed a real ma­chine so, un­der her su­per­vi­sion, my mother let me use hers. I made doll clothes, soft­ies and all kinds of tiny things for the doll­house that my grand­fa­ther built for me. In high school, I made a lot of clothes for my­self – in­clud­ing a dou­ble-breasted suit out of linen which had bound but­ton­holes and welt pock­ets!

You had a few ca­reers be­fore quilting and tex­tile de­sign. I’d love to hear more…in­clud­ing how you ended up be­ing pho­tographed not com­pletely clothed by Andy Warhol!

I pur­sued many dif­fer­ent jobs and di­rec­tions be­fore start­ing my busi­ness. Look­ing back, it’s eas­ier to see how my var­i­ous ex­pe­ri­ences con­trib­uted to who and where I am now, even the ones that seem so far afield. Aside from mak­ing my own clothes, I had part time jobs work­ing in cos­tume shops when I was in high school and col­lege – my sewing ca­reer started early! Af­ter col­lege, I lived in New York and did mod­ern dance and per­for­mance

STAY­ING TRUE TO MY­SELF HAS LED TO SO MANY IN­CRED­I­BLE AND RE­WARD­ING OP­POR­TU­NI­TIES

art. I had a pe­riph­eral as­so­ci­a­tion with both Twyla Tharp and Tr­isha Brown through my work with the chore­og­ra­pher Car­men Beuchat. Those per­for­mance art pieces some­times re­quired a cos­tume and some­times…not. I was work­ing with a few peo­ple who were in Andy Warhol’s Fac­tory – one thing led to an­other and that photo hap­pened!

Be­fore go­ing to study graphic de­sign at art school, I also sewed tu­tus at the Bos­ton Bal­let, made ec­cle­si­as­ti­cal ves­ture at a monastery and worked for a cloth­ing de­signer at a small ate­lier. Af­ter art school, I worked as a graphic de­signer and even­tu­ally launched my busi­ness. Even the wait­ress­ing jobs I had along the way con­trib­uted to my un­der­stand­ing of how to run a small busi­ness since most of those restau­rants were chef-owned.

Your fab­ric and de­signs are an ode to his­tory and your stu­dio is in an old fac­tory build­ing. Why is your con­nec­tion to the past im­por­tant to you?

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