By ALIX BOYLE Master quilter Denyse Schmidt is just like most of us when it comes to starting a new project: She's plagued by doubts, second-guesses herself and procrastinates.
But Schmidt always triumphs over these demons and produces some of the freshest contemporary quilts available today. In addition to creating couture, custom quilts, as well as a line of more accessibly priced quilts, Schmidt is committed to teaching other quilters to get out of their own way. With a technique she calls improvisational patchwork, Schmidt takes all the angst out of quilting and creates an environment in her workshops that makes artisans realize why they are there in the first place: to create something beautiful and useful and not drive themselves crazy in the meantime. "This process is more like painting or collage and makes the time go faster," says Schmidt, a former graphic designer who studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and whose work has been featured in numerous home magazines. "Quilts are intimidating. They are so big and there are so many choices about fabric."