Quilting club builds friendships at Codman Square library

Resident textile artist Susan Thompson, 72, of Grove Hall (not pictured): “I was on vacation in Barbados and I saw a woman sitting out cleaning fish, and it kind of stuck in my mind.” Dan Sheehan photo.

The Codman Square branch of the Boston Public Library was adorned with colorful patterns last Tuesday, June 12 as the library’s “Quilt Making for Generations” program held their first ever event to showcase the work their members have created over the past several months.

A longtime community fixture for area seniors, the quilting club started in the 1970s at the Kit Clark Center in Fields Corner. After the center closed in 2015, the club bounced around a few different community centers before finding a new home at the Codman branch last fall. One longtime member, Priscilla Paquette of Dorchester, said the program has flourished in the new location.

“It’s a wonderful group of people,” she said. “We came together just this year, and Codman Square library welcomed us with open arms. They’ve been so good to us. We came as a little group looking for a home, and I turned around one day and there’s thirty people in our group.”
quilt guy in hat REP 25-18_0.jpgElron Brown, 36: “I’m the youngest and I think the only male in here. At first I started just coming for the food, but then one of the ladies encouraged me to try making a quilt. So I made this one for my daughter.”

Branch librarian Janice Knight spoke to the spirit of community built within the program: “On September 5, this group came together. Every Tuesday from 10:30 to 12:30, everyone gathered here to piece together quilts while they talked, laughed, and told each other stories of their lives, and there’s a lot of newfound friends in this room.”

This iteration of the club, adapted into Codman’s “Senior Arts and Smarts” programming series, welcomed experienced and novice quilters alike.

“We taught each other,” explained program leader Eleanora Thompson.

quilt _1.jpgLucille Burwell, 77, of Mattapan: “I did it all by hand, no machine. First time ever. Hopefully I can make a sale out of it!”

quilt mary MacLean REP 25-18_0.jpgMary MacLean, 90, of Fields Corner: “I learned from my parents, I’m a good hand sewer.”

quilt woman w pillows REP 25-18_1.jpgBeverley McBean, of Neponset: “I just started learning in September. Everyone was saying, ‘oh you can’t do that, it’s too big.’ I’m like, ‘watch me.’”