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00:00:00 - Introduction to interview from Meg Cox to Quilters Take Manhattan audience

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Partial Transcript: Ok can everybody here, can everybody hear ok? I want to get started

Segment Synopsis: Interviewer Meg Cox introduces the project and interview process to the live audience at Quilters Take Manhattan, a Quilt Alliance fundraiser held at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. She describes the format of the interview, and warns both Schmidt and the audience that interviews sometimes provoke tears.

Keywords: Caryl Bryer Fallert; Denyse Schmidt; International Quilt Festival; Library of Congress; Quilters Take Manhattan; The Quilters Catalog; interview process; quilt celebrity

Subjects: Quiltmakers

00:03:50 - Interview introduction

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Partial Transcript: I'm Meg Cox, and I'm here for the second annual Quilters Take Manhattan benefit. I'm interviewing Denyse Schmidt for Quilters' Save Our Stories, the oral history project of the Quilt Alliance.

Segment Synopsis: Cox introduces the interview, recorded live at Quilters Take Manhattan at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Keywords: Quilters Take Manhattan

Hyperlink: Denyse Schmidt
00:04:24 - Tell me about the quilt you brought in today.

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Partial Transcript: Can you tell us about the quilt that's behind us, and why you brought this quilt today?

Segment Synopsis: Schmidt shares why she chose to bring the particular quilt called "One Big Square" as her touchstone quilt. She feels it is typical of her design and quiltmaking process, in that she pieced it in an improvisational way, basing it on what she describes as traditional methods. She notes that as a professional quilt designer, her work includes designing fabric, designing quilts manufactured in India, creating quilts for interior designers, and for gallery exhibition.

Keywords: "One Big Square"; Art quilts; Design process; Improvisational piecing; Quilt Purpose - Art or personal expression; Santa Fe, New Mexico; exhibition; factory made quilts; gallery; interior design; touchstone quilt

Subjects: Quilts in art; Quilts in interior decoration; Textile designers

00:06:55 - Techniques for touchstone quilt, "One Big Square"

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Partial Transcript: Now it's, was it machine pieced or––

Segment Synopsis: Schmidt pieced this quilt by machine using "deadstock" from a fabric shop that was going out of business in Bridgeport, Connecticut, some of it vintage fabric from the 1970s, including the prominent striped fabric in the quilt.

Keywords: Bridgeport, Connecticut; Design process; Fabric - Striped; Fabric/Quilt shops; Hand quilting; Machine Piecing; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Work or Studio space; exhibition; fabric store; workshop

Subjects: Fabric shops

GPS: Link to map
Map Coordinates: 41.186243, -73.196603
00:09:18 - Background in art and design

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Partial Transcript: I want to talk a little bit about your background. What is the age you were when you started quilting and who got you started?

Segment Synopsis: Schmidt recounts tagging along with her older sister to art classes, but really absorbing the art and design process and ways of looking at the world. Later, when she went to Rhode Island School of Design she became interested in crazy quilts and other historic quilts, along with what she imagined to be the communal nature of the historic quiltmaking process, which served as an antidote to the mass-market world of graphic design in which she found herself after graduation.

Keywords: Antique quilts; Barbie pink; Connecticut; Crazy quilts; Rhode Island School of Design; Scrap quilts; art school; design process; family; graphic design; life drawing; needlepoint; nine patch; old timey music

Subjects: Art schools; Quilts--patchwork quilts

00:13:56 - On dancing and being photographed by Andy Warhol

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Partial Transcript: It's so interesting, all these different elements that would exert this pull on you. But I think a lot of people who know you as an iconic designer and a wonderful designer and kind of a modernist would be interested to know some of your background

Segment Synopsis: With Cox's prompt regarding being photographed by Andy Warhol for Paris Vogue, Schmidt recounts her background as a dancer, and how her dance connections led her to a community connected to Andy Warhol's Factory.

Keywords: Andy Warhol; Andy Warhol's Factory; Boston Ballet; Carmen Beuchat; Corey Tippin; Delia Doherty; Judson Church dance movement; Mark Lipinski; Paris Vogue; Robert Rauschenberg; Twyla Tharp; modernism

Subjects: Andy Warhol Factory (New York, N.Y.); Modernism (Art)

GPS: Andy Warhol's Factory
Map Coordinates: 40.753675, -73.970690
00:16:42 - Earlier career as graphic designer

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Partial Transcript: I think a lot people also don't know that for a while you considered that you might become… make your life designing fonts, doing typography

Segment Synopsis: Schmidt explains a bit of the process of designing typography; she still receives royalty checks for designing a typeface named "Scamp." She notes some similarities between quiltmaking and typographical design.

Keywords: Scamp; graphic design; typography

Subjects: Graphic design (Typography)

00:18:42 - Other jobs and inspiration to design quilts

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Partial Transcript: Oh, the tutus. So then I had, so I lived in New York for a while and did all this dance and performance things and then I moved back to Massachusetts for a while and I had a series of sewing jobs.

Segment Synopsis: Schmidt recalls that she did a variety of sewing jobs and pursued interests including cutting letters in stone. Eventually she attended the International Contemporary Furniture Fair and found her inspiration to make quilts, which no one was doing for the contemporary interior design market at that time.

Keywords: Boston Ballet; International Contemporary Furniture Fair; New York City, New York; Rhode Island School of Design; Worcester, Massachusetts; dance; ecclesiastical vesture; graphic design; headstone; monastery; stonecutting; tutus

Subjects: Graphic design (Typography); Quilts in interior decoration

00:23:08 - On finding her niche in quilt design

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Partial Transcript: Well, it's interesting, you put this energy out and you had these different strands of skills and it seems like a lot of things came to you and I'm just wondering

Segment Synopsis: Schmidt describes how she discovered that no one was really making bedding at the contemporary design trade shows she began attending. After debuting a line of colorful quilts, she received great media attention and a contract to create stationary and sell quilts at Takashimaya, a Japanese department store, which began to give her antique kimonos to integrate into her quilts.

Keywords: Design process; Dwell bedding; New York Times; Takishimaya (Japanese department store); kimono; shelter magazines; trade show

Subjects: Quilts in interior decoration

00:26:32 - Describe your studio/the place that you create.

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Partial Transcript: Would you talk a little bit about your studio setup? What you're set up to do, what your studio looks like?

Segment Synopsis: Schmidt's studio is in Bridgeport, Connecticut, an old manufacturing city, in a factory building that use dot house the company American Fabrics. She notes that other artists and designers share the building.

Keywords: American Fabrics; Apple Computers; Bridgeport, Connecticut; Brother sewing machine; Design process; Work or Studio space; central Massachusetts; factory; textile mill

GPS: Location of Schmidt's studio at the time of this interview.
Map Coordinates: 41.183104, -73.159397
00:29:04 - Design inspiration

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Partial Transcript: So you do teach a lot of improvisational workshops with the improvisational quilting

Segment Synopsis: Schmidt reflects on the various things that inspire her quilt design, including painting, fashion, flea market finds, and particularly historic quilts. She admits having a nostalgia for vintage design from earlier eras. Her fabric line, "Flea Market Fancy" reveals some of these inspirations.

Keywords: Antique quilts; Design process; Fabric - Feedsack; Feedsack; Pottery Barn; Quilt Purpose - Home decoration; Quilt Purpose - Personal income; fashion; flea market; inspiration; nostalgia; painting

Subjects: Quilts in interior decoration

00:32:09 - How do you feel about machine quilting vs. hand quilting? What about long-arm quilting?

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Partial Transcript: One of the things that was interesting to me and I had interviewed before for the Wall Street Journal is this: I thought you would be very modern

Segment Synopsis: Schmidt shares her personal aesthetic preference regarding minimalist quilting, in both machine quilting and hand quilting. She rarely has time to make quilts for herself or to give to another person, likening it to the professional carpenter who always has unfinished projects at home.

Keywords: "quilt police"; Hand quilting; Long arm quilting; Machine quilting; Quilt Purpose - Art or personal expression; Quilt Purpose - Personal income; knitting; simplicity

Subjects: Quilting--machine quilting

00:35:02 - Schmidt's book: "Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspirations"

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Partial Transcript: And let's give the title of your current book?

Segment Synopsis: Schmidt's recent book is "Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspirations" (Stc Craft / Melanie Falick Book, 2012). She says it pays homage to historical quilts that have inspired her work.

Keywords: Published work - Quilts; Time management; book; knitting; simplicity

00:36:04 - What do you think makes a great quilt?

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Partial Transcript: I just want to talk to you a little about aesthetics and all that. What do you think--impossible question alert!--makes a great quilt?

Segment Synopsis: Schmidt tackles the challenging question of what makes a great quilt, noting that she responds to a lot of different types of quilts, but ultimately it is "one that makes me kind of stop and pay attention."

Keywords: Scrap quilts; Whole cloth quilts; aesthetics; flea market

00:37:36 - Which artists have influenced you?

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Partial Transcript: As far as things, other kinds of artworks, are there particular artists who work in textiles or in any medium that you feel have influenced you, that you really respond to? And, or, they influenced you?

Segment Synopsis: Schmidt mentions several artists who have inspired her, including painters Louise Bourgeois and Agnes Martin and quiltmakers Heather Jones and Luke Haynes. She finds them to make work "true to themselves."

Keywords: Agnes Martin; Heather Jones; Louise Bourgeois; Luke Haynes; Quilt Purpose - Art or personal expression; inspiration

00:38:33 - On role in the modern quilting movement

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Partial Transcript: Now you have been called sort of a 'godmother of modern quilting' and you are looked upon as somebody who has helped birth this movement

Segment Synopsis: Schmidt reflects on her role in the modern quilting movement, led by the Modern Quilt Guild which will hold its first convention, QuiltCon, in February 2013. She does not take credit for this movement, but acknowledges that she began using "modern" as a reference point to her contemporary interior design market.

Keywords: Modern Quilt Guild; Modern quiltmaking; Modern quilts; QuiltCon; modernism

Subjects: Modernism (Art); Quilts in interior decoration

00:41:01 - Why is quiltmaking important to your life?

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Partial Transcript: Why is quiltmaking important to your life?

Segment Synopsis: Schmidt notes that quiltmaking has allowed her to earn a living doing "something that was uniquely my own." She does not know where it will lead her next.

Keywords: Quilt Purpose - Art or personal expression; Quilt Purpose - Personal income

00:41:48 - What do you think about the importance of quilts in American life?

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Partial Transcript: What do you think is the importance of quilts in American life?

Segment Synopsis: Schmidt loves that quilts are both beautifully designed and useful. She also notes their symbolic role in family and community.

Keywords: aesthetics; community; family; symbolism; utility

00:43:03 - Upcoming events and future goals

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Partial Transcript: Looking ahead, you said "who knows where it will lead" but do you have some next challenges in mind? Some next things that you'd like to accomplish?

Segment Synopsis: Schmidt shares that she has an upcoming exhibition at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky. She also hopes to get back to actually making quilts herself. She also has plans for additional fabric design.

Keywords: Library of Congress; National Quilt Museum (Paducah); exhibition; fabric design

Subjects: Textile museums