Peace by Piece:

The Norwalk Community Quilt Project

In 2008, after years of teaching art in after-school programs, I got the idea to teach quilting to young people in my town of Norwalk, CT. 

 

I remembered my after-school days, sitting at a quilt frame in the living room with my sister Hannah, and maybe a friend or two, hand-stitching quilts for the beds in our house. My mom, who was teaching herself to quilt alongside us, helped us design and piece the tops together on a sewing machine. Then we layered the quilt, and put it on the frame.  My parents, Anne and Harlow Rockwell were children's book authors and illustrators, and they worked out of our house in Old Greenwich, CT. Our living room was a great place to relax, with adults nearby, and work on something slowly and attentively that was useful, beautiful and would soon make us feel proud every time we saw it or cuddled under it. I had an idea that I could replicate this kind of experience for kids in my town.

 

I proposed the idea to The Norwalk Children's Foundation, which was funding projects to bring opportunity and enrichment to underserved kids. They funded my  project and helped me partner with the Norwalk Housing Authority to secure a work space, and recruit adult mentors. Our first volunteers were residents of Senior Court, a subsidized housing complex for senior citizens. 

 

The Community Room at Senior Court Housing has been our meeting place since 2008. We call it The Quilt House. Since then four of the original volunteers, Ernestine Cobb, Viola Sears, Sandra Naraboine, and Dot Byrd are still helping out. Many more adults from around the city have joined us, and I have worked with hundreds of different youth quilters over the years. We make quilts for personal use and as gifts.  We have also made art quilts which hang in public places like the Norwalk Public Libraries, Norwalk Community College and Stepping Stones Museum for Children. We have become a family and we call ourselves Peace by Piece: The Norwalk Community Quilt Project. 

 

I started working on The All-Together Quilt in 2014, and I am so proud, six years later, to share our story with you. 

Peace,

Lizzy

© 2020 by Lizzy Rockwell