If art was no longer your day job what would you be doing?
I would be a substance abuse counselor. I believe in the resilience of mankind and his ability to rise up from the lowest of places. It is very rewarding to help change the lives of people who really need it.
What figure in history would easily represent your alter ego?
No doubt my alter ego is Harriet Tubman!
What movie can you watch over and over again?
The movie I can watch over and over, is the original “Sparkle”. “I’ve lived in Harlem all my life, I do know a rat when I see one” LOL
What do you ultimately want to be remembered for?
I try hard not to hurt people with my tongue. I would like people to remember that few have ever heard me say an unkind word about anyone, even when I feel they have done me wrong. I choose to let the life I live (whatever that may be) speak for me.
Favorite childhood candy?
My favorite candy is Mary Jane, it had the peanut butter middle, before we had the Reese Cup.
Phyllis Stephens is an award-winning fifth generation quilt maker, considered by critics to be a Master of African-American Story Quilts. Simply stated her quilts are inspirational. She has quilted professionally for more than thirty years. Her quilts have been displayed in some of the most prestigious museums and galleries in the world; such as The Museum of the American Quilter’s Society in Paducah, Kentucky and the Fine Art Museum of Ghana Africa. It was a special honor for her to show in Ghana, the fabric capital of the world.
In 2010, Stephens was awarded by the Georgia House of Representatives, a resolution for her art portfolio entitled “For Crying Out Loud” a tribute to the Children of the Civil Rights Movement.
Her design process and techniques are cutting edge. Stephens’ work has been described as innovative and fresh. Her color selections and fabric choices are unmatched. She states, “My love affair with the art of quilt making is a seed planted inside me by every generation I have knowledge of. Once when I gave my grandmother a quilt she proudly proclaimed, I quilted with the same form and sense of her grandmother. The stories I tell in my quilts live deep inside of me. Some works are a collaboration of many stories brought together to make one piece. While others depict defining moments I have chosen to pay close attention to. Quilting is sometimes thought of as a hard, long, drawn-out process. Not for me. I am an heir to the culture and value of the African tradition of quilt making. The long process allows me time to travel to some of the sweetest places in my memories. Like the quilting parties I enjoyed as a little girl. It was there that sewing hands and tall tales flowed one in the same. I enjoy every part, every process and the special privilege of creating a quilt”.
Stephens acknowledges she is blessed, and her abilities are a gift from God, “in Him there is nothing to add, and nothing can be taken away, He is a true and solid source”.
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