A Chat With Denyse Schmidt
1. I’m so excited that your newest fabric line ‘Hope Valley’ is here! Can you talk about your design process that leads you to create your fabrics?
My fabric designs are based on vintage prints – generally 1930′s feed
sack type prints. Usually the process starts with either a color
feeling or story that gets stuck in my head. The inspiration for Hope
Valley is from a combination of events, experiences and objects. I
fell in love with the colors of the southwest during a trip to Santa
Fe in September 08. The yellow-greens especially are intense and
beautiful. The palette for Hope Valley was inspired by that trip, and by some vintage, hand-tinted postcards I have. I was designing the collection during some of the darker moments of the recent recession and everyone was talking about the Great Depression. Thoughts about those times – especially the positive aspects that my parents always talked about – how everyone was in the same boatand helped each other out – influenced my print designs. The name comes from a town in Rhode Island – who wouldn’t want to live in a place that sounds so optimistic?
2. What about your bold use of color? When designing fabrics, do
you feel the colors first,or the print? Will there be a second reprinting of ‘Hope Valley’ in different groups of colors?
I do tend to use color as the organizing influence in my collections.
We hope to have an extension of the collection, though we’ve been
very busy these last months and the deadline seems to be now!
3. I think modern quilters are excited to see that you have new
patterns available. Can you tell us more about them? Are they for beginning, or intermediate quilters?
I’m excited about the new patterns too! We introduced Single Girl in
the late fall 2007, to get our feet wet and figure out how things
work. Having more patterns was always the goal, and it’s far more
effective to have a group, than just one. We had fun making them and
I love shooting the covers – my cat Boo made it onto two of the
covers. He’s a total ham.
I think the patterns can work for beginners – especially Hills ‘n’
Hollers, and Stacking the Odds. The others may seem more intimidating
because they have curved seams or are time intensive. I think our
instructions are clear and simple, so that anyone can tackle them, as
long as you have basic familiarity with sewing. The Proverbial Quilt
is adaptable for different levels – we included all the letters of
the alphabet so you can make up your own phrases or personalize a
quilt (or bag, or pillow!). So it could be a very simple and easy
project. In general, quilts are large and take longer to make than a
skirt or tote bag. It’s not necessarily difficult to do a quilt, but
it is more of a time commitment.
4. What will you be doing this year? Workshops? Travel?
I’ll be designing lots more fabric, and it looks like I’ll be
starting a new book project! I’m teaching almost every month in our studio, and teaching the week of July 4th to teach at the Quilter’s Affair in Sister’s Oregon. I’m also teaching at Craftland in Providence RI on March 6. Most likely I’ll be doing a guest spot up in VT during one of Heather Ross’s workshops – so much fun! I’ve got a lot of other invitations tospeak and teach – we do our best to list them all on our website, on the “what’s new” page. It’s also good to sign up for our mailing list for all the events. I’m sure I’ve left out some important goings on!
5. Do you have any advice to offer aspiring fabric and/or quilt
Knowing what you want or expect from pursuing it is a good place to start. Do you want to make it your livelihood, or do you want to keep it as something you love to do? Doing anything for a living really changes your relationship to it, so be careful what you ask for!
There are a ton of great resources for advice on business and design out there, and the web has made it much easier to get your work out there. Perseverance is the key.
Thanks Denyse! And just so you know, at the end of the Hope Valley Quilt Along, Denyse will be offering our participants a chance to win the whole collection of her quilt patterns! How awesome is that?!
So, Saturday will be the last day to enter to win quarter yard cuts of some Hope Valley prints! If you haven’t already entered…what are you waiting for?! Go HERE.
Also, grab the button….