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About Denyse

I grew up in an area of old textile mill towns in central Massachusetts. My parents made things with skill and style – my mom sewed clothes for herself and her four kids, my dad made Eames-style furniture and fixed everything. While they took pride in their work, they never considered themselves craftspeople or artists. Having grown up during the depression, they, like others of their generation, learned to be frugal and make do. If we needed something, we made it ourselves.

I studied theater, dance, then graphic design at the Rhode Island School of Design, and had more than a few different jobs over the years, including waiting tables, a season at the Boston Ballet costume shop, and sewing ecclesiastical vesture.

In art school, I stumbled across images of improvised, utilitarian quilts in books and journals. These quilts were made to be used for warmth and comfort. Their functional beauty, enhanced by seemingly haphazard combinations and mismatched seams, resonated with me. These quilts were uncomplicated and unfussy, with design driven by instinctive use of materials and making do. They also struck me as deeply personal: pieced together from the fabric of worn-out dresses, work clothes, or other scraps found around the house, quilts represent a lifetime of memories and emotions. A sense of nostalgia is embedded in the craft itself, passed down through generations.

I wanted to honor the traditions of past makers while also expressing a design aesthetic true to my eclectic experiences. I exhibited my first quilts at a contemporary furniture fair in NYC, with work that channeled my wobbly drawings and quirky color sense – a perfect compliment to the slick modernism of the show. 

In the first years after opening DSQ in 1996, I worked in publishing by day, and made quilts for high-end department stores like Henri Bendel, Takashimaya, and Saks Fifth Avenue by night. Over time, I added machine-quilted designs that were spare and minimal, and worked with Sarita Handa, a woman-owned manufacturer in India to license my designs for catalogs like Pottery Barn, Sundance, and Crate & Barrel. 

In 2006, I began designing for a new generation of hobbyist quilters looking for instructional and inspirational products including modern quilt patterns, books, and fabric. Quilting has a very old and rich tradition of community, of bringing women together. Before the internet and before television, women got together for quilting bees—as they sewed, they shared problems and joys and supported each other. 

DSQ is my way of continuing these traditions by creating a space where we can all create, be immersed in beauty, and feel connected.

Living History

The Studio

My studio is located in a historic factory building in Bridgeport CT. The building was home to the American Fabrics Company, which manufactured lace fabric, trim, and embroideries from 1908 to 1990, and I’m proud to be carrying on the textile tradition here. Spend the day in our studio when you sign up for a Celebration Workshop, or visit for our annual Open Studios event.