The Norwalk Quilt Trail is a combination of quilt-themed exhibits consisting of more than100 quilts made and collected in Norwalk. The collaborative effort represents themes of American life and history. Participants include the Norwalk and Rowayton Historical Societies, , , Norwalk Seaport Association’s Sheffield Island Lighthouse, , and the Switch Tower Museum. Norwalk libraries will also offer quilt-related displays and workshops over the six-month run of the Quilt Trail.
As you’ll soon discover on your journey along this trail, every quilt has a story. “About sixty percent of the quilts have Norwalk connections, and many of them are on loan from Norwalk families,” said Lesley Korzennik, the Rowayton Historical Society curator. This weekend, May 14 and 15, is filled with events in celebration of the art and history of qulting.
On Saturday at the Rowayton Historical Society, Pinkney Park, 177 Rowayton Avenue, “A Common Thread: Family History Told through Quilting,” will take place Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission for adults is $5. A free opening reception will follow from 5 to 8 p.m.
“Trains, Planes and Automobiles: Interest Starts Early” begins at the SoNo Switch Tower Museum, 77 Washington Street, from noon to 5 p.m. Donations are suggested.
On Sunday, “The Craze of Crazy Quilts” opens at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, Mathews Park, 295 West Avenue, with tours at noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. Admission prices are from $6 to $10.
According to Stacey Danielson, curatorial consultant for the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, the second floor of the mansion has been chosen as the display area for four “crazy” quilts, a style popular in the latter nineteenth century. Crazy quilts take their name from the asymmetrical pieces of fabric stitched together in abstract arrangements. They were usually made of silk, brocade, and velvet scraps in jewel colors and pieced in seemingly haphazard patterns. However, they were actually very thoughtfully and carefully planned. These quilts were embellished with lavish embroidered decorative stitches on each seam.
Quilts belonging to the Norwalk Historical Society, the Rowayton Historical Society, and the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum will be displayed on quilt racks to lessen the strain on the fragile fabrics. The fourth, a child’s quilt to be loaned from a private collection, will be draped on the museum’s period crib. Several Godey’s Lady’s Books from LMMM’s archival collection, and also newspaper articles featured in Quilting News of Yesteryear: Crazy as a Bed-Quilt, will enhance the exhibit by showing examples of crazy quilt articles that helped to popularize the style.
Also on Sunday, at the Norwalk Historical Society, Mill Hill Historic Park, 2 East Wall Street, Sue Reich, a quilt historian, will present the lecture “Quilts & Quiltmakers Covering Connecticut,” at 3 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults. From 5 to 7 p.m. an opening reception will take place for the exhibit “Collected & Cherished: Quilts made and collected in Norwalk.” Admission is free.
“Collected & Cherished” features a selection of Norwalk-made and Norwalk-collected quilts that came from organizations and individuals including the Connecticut Historical Society, and the Stamford Historical Society. Quilts ranging from circa 1850 to 1950 will be on display, including log cabin designs in silk, baskets-and-wreath designs in cotton, a mariner’s quilt from the Selleck family, in addition to yo-yo and printed cottons from the 1940s.
For more information about the exhibits, the trail, and upcoming events in June, click here.