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Sylvia Stephens with Mozell Benson_Stash_Quilt_courtesy of artist

Sylvia Stephens

pieced quilt making Hyattsville, Maryland
Photo Credit: photo courtesy of artist
Sylvia Stephens with Mozell Benson_Stash_Quilt_courtesy of artist

Sylvia Stephens is a fourth-generation quilter in a family of celebrated quilters. Her mother, Mozell Benson (pictured, right), was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship for quilting in 2001, the nation’s highest honor for traditional artists. Despite an interest from childhood in sewing, Sylvia was not inspired to take up quilting until her mother’s recognition. Through Alabama’s Folk Arts Apprenticeship Program, Sylvia was able to learn from her mother while also documenting and preserving her quilting techniques. She has taught others through workshops across Alabama and her participation as a master artist in the Maryland Traditions Apprenticeship Program. Today the family’s traditional quilting techniques live on through Sylvia’s daughters, Kori and Stefanie (who joins her at the festival), as well as her granddaughters, Sanaa, Rahmah, Aya, and Bushra.

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