Sunday, November 14, 2010

3 highways, 8 flights of stairs...

or, How I Met Denyse Schmidt.

Ok. Long post incoming, you've been warned.

As some of you know, yesterday and today were the dates for Denyse Schmidt's studio sale in Bridgeport, CT. I don't live too far from there--in fact, I work about a half-hour away from her studio location. I've even dreamed about taking her improv piecing workshops. But imagine my dismay when I realized I was scheduled to work a 9.5 hour shift on Day 1 of Denyse's studio sale. I couldn't get a switch for the shift. My one break of the day wasn't long enough to get down there and back, let alone get into the building.

I emailed back and forth a bit with several of the ladies helping Denyse with the sale. No, they weren't planning on holding anything back for day 2. At 3pm, they notified me that there was very little fabric left, and just a few scrap bags remaining. Throwing my cautious nature to the wind, I told Julie (who was a sweetie) that I wasn't sure what the etiquette was, but would she put aside a couple of scrap bags for me, and I'd come down Sunday morning.

I didn't hear anything back last night or early this morning. I was in an agony of indecision. I knew I couldn't afford one of Denyse's quilts, even at a reduced price, on my current budget. For all that I'm not an incredibly productive quilter, I love to quilt and I love Denyse's fabric. Should I drive down and find myself disappointed if there's nothing left?

I got an email this morning from Denyse herself, in the midst of my indecision, saying that there wasn't any DS fabric left, if that was what I was hoping for, but that there were a couple of scrap bags left. I thanked her profusely, conveying my regret that I hadn't been able to be there on day 1. And then Julie emailed me and said "hey, I have 2 scrap bags with your name on them at our table in the studio."

Thank you, Julie, for that final prod in the bum. I jumped out of my cozies and slippers, took a shower, threw on some clothes and raced out the door. Honestly, that drive of 3 highways was a total blur. I got turned around at one point (my own inaccurate writing of directions--yay me), found my way back and to the right building, and then faced...

The stairs. For those of you unfamiliar, Denyse's studio is at the top (4th) floor of an old converted warehouse, which now houses some gorgeous studios for a number of very talented artists--this weekend was an open-house for these artists. This also means that I had 8 flights of very steep steps ahead of me. For some, no issue. For me, well, I have a sedentary job and had partly-successful back surgery two years ago (I never regained full feeling or function in my left leg).

This? Was a trek of epic proportions. A commitment, as Allison (another of Denyse's helpers) said. I did it, I'm proud to say. Only realizing, as I climbed, that I was wearing a shirt with a stain on it. And I'd forgotten my belt. And I'm not sure my socks matched. I was a mess, going to meet one of my industry idols. *facepalm*

Too late to turn around now.

I reached the top, winded, and stood outside the studio, looking at several of the gorgeous quilts hung up for display (and to buy a little time to recover). Did I bring my camera? Are you kidding? I'm lucky I was wearing pants! I finally mustered up a little courage, and went inside. Quilts, pillow covers, shams. And Denyse. I had to keep walking and keep up the pretense of looking around for a minute, I was admittedly starstruck. (I wasn't being rude, I promise. She was also chatting with some other visitors, taking photos. It would have been rude to interrupt!)

I found the bin of scrap bags, and sure enough, there were just a couple left. I checked them out, found one with some blue dotted leaves from FMF at the bottom, snapped it up and went to the table. I was probably grinning like a fool. This is where things got a little hazy...

Julie asked if I was Meg, I said I was, and Denyse perked up and smiled at me, saying she was glad I'd made it. I shook hands, saying it was an honor to meet her, thanking them for the work they'd put into the studio sale. Julie grabbed the bag with the other two scrap bags in it, and Denyse herself rang up my sale. She noted I'd found some FMF, as well as some KJR, and I believe I said something along the lines of being able to pick out a DS print at 20 paces. Or maybe I just thought it. As I said, hazy. I signed up for her online newsletter, filled out an art show raffle ticket, thanked the ladies again and found myself outside again, dazed and blinking. The combination of endorphin high from the climb and from meeting Denyse Schmidt was enough that I don't really remember the drive home, either...

I'm home again, obviously. I've pawed through my scrap bags, full of great vintage fabrics, some of each of Denyse's fabric lines, as well as lots of solid and shot cotton scraps. Denyse was sweet, and I have to say, absolutely lovely--any photos I'd seen did not do her justice. Oh, and I've seen Greenfield Hill in person. I wasn't sure about it from early photos of it, but seeing it together in a quilt (the blue and green colorways in one of her recent patterns), I have to say it has some distinct possibilities.

I'm looking forward to her next studio sale, at which point, I will certainly be prepared to be there on day one.

And I'll also make sure I have a clean shirt on.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I do love you, my dear. Too funny that you don't remember the stairs or the roads back to your house. I would have done the same thing in the presence of some of my stars-- shoot, I went to the county fair last week and was too shy to _really_ talk to the only shepherds at the fair! I mentioned something later about wanting to ask more questions, and Tam was all, "Why didn't you!!!!?? We were THERE for that!" So I understand.

On a similar starstruck note, several of my fiber heroines just got back from a trip to Peru, and brought spindles with them. I have coming to me in the mail a spindle handmade by a mountain dweller in Peru, exactly like the one my spinning idol learned on as a small child.

Enjoy the scraps and make something most excellent. FOR YOURSELF! You and me are just like the cobbler's barefoot kids. Make and keep something for yourself, lady!