Workshops and Weekends (and possibly a cold beer) with Denyse Schmidt

a drawing I did of Denyse and her design wallSo much about this summer's workshop schedule feels like a homecoming, in my mind. I'm hosting two one-day workshops on my very own rooftop (where Denyse Schmidt will be making a guest star appearance!) following a whole lot of travel in May, and then I'll be heading up to Bridgeport CT to help Denyse with one of her brand new weekend long Advanced Improv Workshops.

When I first moved back to the east coast and was struggling to find my footing and adjust to muggy summers  again, Denyse invited me up to Fairfield on weekends, which is just an hour away by subway and train. Denyse is what my grandmother would have called a Great Yankee Hostess. I would always arrive to find beautifully packed picnic lunches, starring bacon sandwiches, which we would put into a sturdy tote and carrry to the beach on a pair of heavy vintage bikes. In the evenings we played Scrabble and drank beer on her porch as the sun set.  Denyse always has a solid plan with plenty of art, outdoors, and good food, regardless the season. That was the thing that I remembered quickly about living in places with four seasons: that each of those seasons moves quickly, and must be savored.

Regardless of season, my favorite place to be with Denyse was and still is in her studio, in the hardscrabble town of Bridgeport, which is a place so like so many of the small towns in the Northeast whose boom years have come and gone, leaving behind the tall sturdy buildings made of stone and brick and wood with their huge windows to let in the sunlight. Denyse's studio is in on the fourth floor of one of these buildings, and the windows are so big and the light so beautiful in her workspace that it's no wonder the colors in her fabrics and quilte feel so pure and true. Like so many people, her studio is also where I took her amazing one day improv workshop. She has been hinting about developing an Advanced Improv Weekend for a while, to show off the best bits of her hometown (and her real life), and this summer it's finally happening. It sounds, in my opinion, too good to be true.

I'm also looking forward to our (sold out) Blueberry Hill Inn workshop in June. We missed being there during our hiatus and can't wait to pull in and see our big scissors flag flying. In case you don't know, it's tradition for an English Inn to fly the home counry flag for it's guests. When TC and I got married at Blueberry Hill in 2007 we had friends who came all the way from London, Ireland, and New Zealand. It took them days, literally, to get there, and when they came to the clearing at top of the mountain where the little Inn sits and saw their respective flags flying they were beyond touched. It occurred to us after six years of workshops there that we needed our own flag, so we made the one above. That was during our last visit so this summer will be it's innaugual hoist, and the first time I'll see it waving through the trees when I come up the gravel road.