Maker Monday: An Aspire Exclusive Interview With Claudia Middendorf

The one goal for Claudia Middendorf is providing comfort within a quilt for you to indulge in some relaxation. Her sustainable quilt brand, Mathilde has achieved that goal by stitching contemporary hand-made pieces that can warm you in any space. Each quilt design is inspired by the atmosphere and culture that surrounds her whilst in Cape Cod and Providence, Rhode Island. The oceanic vibes and countless stories that are ingrained in all of Claudia’s work evoke ease as a (not so metaphorical) blanket of serenity drapes over you. She has been featured in many publications such as Martha Stewart Living, New England Home, and now aspire design and home. Introducing this week’s Maker Monday, Claudia Middendorf.

The quilt above is from Mathilde’s “Blok” series. This entire collection is inspired by a perfect trio of travel including her trips across the Golden Gate Bridge, vistas of the Pacific Ocean, and brick sidewalks in Providence, Rhode Island.

The quilt above is from Mathilde’s “Blok” series. This entire collection is inspired by a perfect trio of travel including her trips across the Golden Gate Bridge, vistas of the Pacific Ocean, and brick sidewalks in Providence, Rhode Island.

Andrew Joseph: What’s one thing people don’t know about you?
Claudia Middendorf: I’m bilingual! My mother is from El Salvador. Growing up, we spoke Spanish and English in our household. I love languages, especially the romance languages. I can stumble through French, Italian and Catalan — I can nod my head when spoken to. The basics are etched in my brain and having spent a summer in Barcelona, I can say, “Le intenc, pero no parlo” in perfect Catalan.

Andrew: If you weren’t a designer, you’d be a ….?
Claudia: A preservationist for old buildings. Or, maybe a crew member on This Old House? Or, an artist like Theaster Gates—his work with building and reuse is so inspiring. There is just so much character in the old buildings from the early 1800s through the 1920s. I love the thick slabs of granite for steps, and the millwork on old buildings is so amazing. You can’t beat the craftsmanship of even the most humble dwellings.

This is the Providence Blush quilt. Inspired by colonial home’s windows and architectural lines, this piece is the quintessential “cool summer night” blanket.

This is the Providence Blush quilt. Inspired by colonial home’s windows and architectural lines, this piece is the quintessential “cool summer night” blanket.

Andrew: Are you a good cook? If so, what’s your specialty?
Claudia: I love to cook! I’m not great but I can hold my own. I’ve watched friends cook who were in the restaurant industry and picked up a lot from them and from my mother, who is a great cook. I’m fond of Mediterranean food with lots of olive oil and fresh ingredients. I make a nice dish of saffron rice with chickpeas, fresh cilantro and chopped onions. So easy and it’s great to eat hot with grilled fish or cold on a salad with feta and sunflower seeds.

Andrew: Do you get your eight hours a night? – what is your schedule like?
Claudia: I would say I get about 6-7 hours of sleep. I’ve always been an early bird—I’m up at 6am and I hit the ground running—make breakfast, have tea, then shower. By 7:00 I’m on a walk in the woods or in historic Providence with my dog Stella, then get back to my studio around 8:00 to answer emails and prep for the day. I work in blocks (thank goodness for online calendars to organize my day). After 4pm, I’m pretty much toast, but I like to take time to recharge; I go over my inspiration wall or sketch any ideas I have for new quilts. I wind down around 8pm and I’m ready to kick back and watch TV or organize my studio a bit. I really love what I do so taking time to relax in the afternoon gives me energy up until I’m ready to sleep at around 11pm.

Andrew: How would you define your work in three words?
Claudia: Textured, Soft, Timeless.

This nautical quilt has crisp stripes and an array of texture that harmonize to honor the roots of Cape Cod.

This nautical quilt has crisp stripes and an array of texture that harmonize to honor the roots of Cape Cod.

Andrew: What’s inspiring you in life (in the industry) right now?
Claudia: I’m seeing a lot of innovation in all kinds of art and artisanal goods—everything from soft goods to ceramics to furniture. I am really drawn to things that show their handmade quality and show natural materials incorporated into the design such as brass or leather details, rushed chairs, and caned seating. I’m inspired by unusual materials mixed together — jute and leather are a great combination. Linen and wool are terrific together as well.

Andrew: Favorite tea to decompress, and in what mug?
Claudia: Oh, I’m a huge fan of Rishi’s ginger/turmeric tea. I also like an oat milk turmeric latte —it is just such a delicious way to start my day. For tea, I use an antique cup and saucer from a set from Gump’s from many years ago. I also love the work of my friend Asya Palatova, of Gleena. Her porcelain mugs are beautiful!


About The Maker | Based in Rhode Island, Mathilde was founded by Claudia Middendorf, a designer, quilter, traveler, and San Francisco transplant. Her studio overlooks the Blackstone River and is housed in a renovated mill building in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Mathilde, makes contemporary hand-crafted quilts made with soft-washed linen that is naturally sustainable for an old-world feel.

Claudia Middendorf believes living with Mathilde quilts can both enliven and soothe the senses and when we bring the right elements together, we can create beautiful spaces for rest and relaxation. Mathilde quilts embody soft and textured details that amplify color, form and comfort. Create your personal sanctuary. Slow down and sink into the pleasure of a soft quilt.


Andrew Joseph is a regular contributing editor for aspire design and home magazine. See more of his work here.

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