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ART STORIES: Denyse Schmidt

Art Stories

We're talking with the artist, designer & creator themselves about their chosen medium. Get to know the artist behind the items featured and find inspiration in their personal stories of creativity. Today I would like to welcome Denyse Schmidt of Denyse Schmidt Quilts to Vintage Indie.

Hi Denyse, thank you for sharing a little more about you and your work with us. Can you tell us what your preferred medium is?

Fabric, in the form of quilts.

How did you get started?

I learned to sew from my mom when I was little. Though she worked full time in education, she was an accomplished seamstress, and made most of the clothes for four kids as well as herself. Both my parents were skilled craftspeople, but they did not pursue it as a hobby or  "art"  – they were both children of the depression and had that deeply instilled idea that you can make what you need. And why buy it if you can make it? They just happened to be really good at whatever they did (furniture, clothing, upholstery. They also made flies for fly-fishing in their newlywed days. My mother's wedding gift to my dad was a fly rod she made). My siblings and I were pretty arty growing up, and I spent some time at art school with my older sister when I was about 8. I started the quilt business in my 30's – I was frustrated with my graphic design career and wanted to be able to spend my time making something that was my "own".

Who or what inspires you?

I'm inspired by so many different things. It could be a song, a painting, a life. I love the history of quilt making and textiles in this country, there is a wealth of really great design there.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into this medium?
Know what you want in terms of your lifestyle above all else. Do you want to grow a business you'll later sell? Or would you be content getting by and being a maker? Talk to as many people out there who are doing similar things, be realistic, and persevere.


Does vintage play a role in your art or life? If so, how?

Yes, most of my furniture and accessories are vintage,  mostly industrial stuff. Also, I design fabric collections that are inspired by vintage prints from the 30's. Vintage with a modern sensibility.

What is important for your customer to know about your work?
We are a small company and every thing we make is pretty "slow" and special. While we do offer more affordable versions of the DS aesthetic through our licensing partnerships, it is not typical in any way.

Denyse is also the author of the how-two book Denyse Schmidt Quilts, 30 Colorful Quilt and Patchwork Projects.

You can also attend one of the many workshops offered at Denyse's studio including:
Sewing 101 with Richard Killeaney

and Improvisational Patchwork with Denyse.

Find out more about Denyse Schmidt and the various workshops, classes and items that she offers at her website DS Quilts

A special thank you to Denyse for sharing her beautiful work with us.


Have a great day everyone, we'll see you back here tomorrow!


Tina aka forrestina vintage

Such a neat article! I appreciate it all the more because I do not sew. ;-) You've got a very nice blog going here; I found you via Flickr..also following you on twitter.

Vintage Indie

Hi Tina,

Nice to "meet" you. Welcome to Vintage Indie, and thank you. I'm glad you found me!


LuAnn Smith

Denise Schmidt has that wonderful balance between new and old. Very inspiring Gabreial. Thanks

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