by Rachel Jolbert
The year 2012 marked the bicentennial of the Town of Porter. For this special event, the Town of Porter commissioned Marilyn Harbison, a local quilting instructor, to create a commemorative quilt for the families of the Town of Porter.
In May of 2012, Harbison cut out hundreds of fabric squares for local families to write their names on to be stitched together to form the quilt. The squares were sold individually to Porter families, and by the end of June Harbison had more than 180 squares to create the quilt that took her nearly three months to complete. The finished quilt can be seen at the Town of Porter Town Hall.
Harbison began her quilting journey more than 15 years ago when she began taking quilting classes at Lewiston-Porter through the school district's Continuing Education program. When her teacher suddenly became ill, Harbison was asked to cover some of the classes, eventually landing her the gig permanently.
Last year, Lew-Port discontinued the classes and Harbison moved her program to the Ransomville Free Methodist Church on Ransomville Road. Also, last year, Harbison began teaching a quilting class through Niagara University's Continuing Education program. The quilting classes run eight weeks at NU and 10 weeks at the church. Classes are approximately two hours long, once a week.
In all, Harbison has more than 30 eager students, ranging from beginners to experienced quilters. Mary Armstrong, one of Harbison's students, describes her teacher as, "a skilled, talented, selfless, knowledgeable and caring woman."
Harbison says her favorite thing about quilting is the relationships and friendships that are built through the love of the craft. "I love the friendship of quilting together," she said. She explained how every week her students are eager to go home and work on the skills they have learned in the class to show their fellow classmates and friends their progress the following week.
If you are interested in taking a quilting class at NU, contact the Continuing Education office at 716-286-8181. If you are interested in taking a quilting class at the Ransomville Free Methodist Church, contact Harbison at 716-791-3965.