By ROB JONAS
Quilting is a metaphor of living in the United States. It brings people of different backgrounds together to create something greater, and more beautiful than the sum of its parts.
That spirit of creating community is what drives The Joyful Quilter’s owner, Susan Pettengill.
“I feel as a culture, we are getting more and more isolated,” said Pettengill. “The store has brought people together. We’re creating community through quilting.”
The Joyful Quilter opened in 2007 with the goal of teaching people of all ages how to sew.
“We find people come here at transition points in their lives,” said Pettengill. “Whenever there’s a birth or graduation or a wedding in a family – or divorce, or even a funeral – they come in because they want to mark the occasion. It’s a way for them to make those life transitions easier on them.”
Pettengill said she started sewing as a child, and she said there are several health benefits that come with it.
“It lowers the blood pressure, it reduces stress … and we also try to make people laugh and have fun, which also lowers blood pressure and stress,” said Pettengill.
The idea, said Pettengill, is to get people to re-engage with others through participating in a tactile activity, such as sewing.
“We offer something that is more unique than anything they can find online – something that is deeper and more meaningful than what you can find on a [computer] screen,” she said.
The Joyful Quilter offers classes and one-on-one instruction, as well as parties and other events. The shop also works with charities such as Quilts for Kids and Ryan’s Case for Smiles.
“It’s a way for people to get involved in the community without going online,” said Pettengill.
The Joyful Quilter is located at 19 Glenridge Road in Glenville. The store is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. For information, call 518-399-0128 or visit joyfulquilter.com.