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Bridgeport author Lizzy Rockwell helps bring communities together, stitch-by-stitch

Eric Warner
Lizzy Rockwell reads her book The All-Together Quilt to children attending community day at the Fairfield Museum and History Center.

Lizzy Rockwell has a knack of bringing people together.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Fairfield Museum of Connecticut recognized the importance of bringing the community together by inviting the local artist and author Rockwell to read her 2020 book, "The All-Together Quilt", to children.

Rockwell, who lives and works in Bridgeport, is known for her artistry of quilting to inspire friendship and positive community action.

Since 2008, she has mentored hundreds of students in quilting with her after school program, Peace by Piece: The Norwalk Community Quilt Project. This program brings opportunity and enrichment to underserved kids throughout Fairfield County by teaching them how to craft with quilting.

“The young people who come meet with us, they are enriched in so many ways because for one thing they’re gaining lots of skills,” said Rockwell during the event. “They’re using math without really knowing it, they’re using language in new ways, and they’re also learning a lot of social skills like collaboration and helping others and learning to be in admiration of their elders and developing deep relationships with older people who aren’t in their family.”

Community day at Fairfield Museum allowed visitors to design a paper quilt block, hand sew small stuffed animals and finger puppets with felt. It also allowed children to be involved in a quilting bee, which engages participants in making quilts as a group.

The museum opened a new exhibit, “The Social History of Quilts”, depicting the history of quilt-making in New England, which dates back to the 18th century. On display are quilts almost 300 years old.

“The very nature of making a quilt is very social,” said Michelle Cheng, the deputy director for programs at the Fairfield Museum. “Quilting bees are not new. They’ve gone on for centuries and historically it’s a way for people to come together to build on something and that naturally becomes a social event by nature.”

“So, it’s really exciting to carry on that tradition, not only for people to see and enjoy the quilts and learn a little bit of quilt history but also to be a part of it today during this special program,” she continued.

The exhibit runs until Feb. 26.

Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.