Norwalk, CT -- The Norwalk Historical Society is hosting a family program, “Quilt Stories”, in celebration of Black History Month. Families will learn about African American folk artist Harriet Powers' storytelling quilts and make a paper story quilt craft. Long-time quilter Rita Phillips will be the special guest. This program is ideal for families with children ages 4 – 10.
The Norwalk Historical Society Museum is located at 141 East Avenue. The front entrance is accessible from the Norwalk City Hall parking area at 125 East Avenue. The Museum is in the red brick house with blue double front doors, next to the Norwalk Health Department.
For thousands of years, people have used images to pass down stories. Harriet Powers used quilts. Born into slavery in 1837, once freed Harriet Powers used the quilting skills she had learned as a child to help provide for her family. Little did she know that one day her story quilts would become priceless examples of African American folk art. During this hour long program, families will hear the story of her journey from slave to artist and learn how she used quilts to tell important stories from her life. Special guest Rita Phillips, long time quilter and member of the Goodwives Quilters, will give families an in depth look at how quilts are made. Quilting tools will be on display as will a variety of quilts handmade by local children. The program will conclude with a crafting project, where families will create their own story quilts using paper. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Rita I. Phillips' interest in sewing began in California where her grandmother taught her to hand sew. After relocating to Norwalk with her family, Rita took up quilting with the Goodwives Quilters and since 1977 has been working with students of all ages to create quilts. She is active with several Fairfield County historical societies as well as CT Piecemakers Quilt Guild, Goodwives Quilters, Peace by Piece and Norwalk Senior Center. In 2011 she helped create the Norwalk Quilt Trail and her quilt, "Norwalk, Fabric of Diversity" graces the front of the book "Community Building in the 21st Century" edited by Stanley E. Hyland.