Communal Quilt Project


Patchwork quilts date back over 5000 years and have been found in all cultures across the
world. Generations of people took the scraps and discarded fabric remnants recycling and re-
invigorating them with new life typically housed in repeat geometric patterns. The fabric
fragments each held a story of the family history. In ante-bellum America sewing circles,
comprised mostly of women, would gather to pass the knowledge to younger generations, to
talk, to gossip, and to strategize. Over time, the quilters developed patchwork patterns and
during slavery in America, Abolitionists secretly used quilt patterns as codes to help slaves
navigate the South to the North searching for a Promised Land.

The Communal Quilt Project is an arts experiential initiative designed to work with all genders,
ages, and ethnicities in Williamsburg and surrounding counties and cities to create a giant quilt.
The project is designed to replicate aspects of the sewing circle in a series of hands-on
workshops. Participants will be guided through the process of creating faux patchwork
narrative quilt sections. Each workshop will take place in various spaces throughout the
community effectively meeting people “where they are at.”

With simple elements such as fabric, glue, and scissors participants will be able to shape and
craft images while sharing aspects of their story in the context of community. We will
operatively create a safe space where we can demystify the superficial barriers that cause
division in our community and reveal how close we really are. In the Spring of 2022, we will
harvest the story-quilts and place them on Duke of Gloucester (DOG) Street as a symbol of the
community functioning as one body. Over time we will create a communal quilt called the
“DOG Street Mile Communal Quilt.”
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