Phyllis Stephens, a national and international award-winning fifth generation quilt maker, is considered by critics to be a master of African American story quilts. Simply stated, her exquisite quilts are inspirational. She has quilted professionally for nearly 40 years. Her design process and techniques are cutting edge. Stephens’s work has been described as innovative and fresh. Her color selections and fabric choices are unmatched. She is an authentic leader in the artistic medium of quilt making.
Stephens’s quilts have been displayed in some of the most prestigious museums and galleries in the world, for example the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky, and the Fine Art Museum of Ghana, Africa. It was an honor for her to have her artwork exhibited in Ghana as it is the fabric capital of the world. She journeyed across the globe to explore the African Diaspora in India. While in India, she had the opportunity to see quilts created by beautiful Africans (Siddis) who reside on India’s west coast. In 2016, she was given the amazing opportunity to display her work globally in Paris, France; Rome, Italy; and Switzerland. Stephens acknowledges that she is blessed, and her abilities are a gift from God.
In a statement about her new quilt High and Lifted Up, Stephens says, “As a child I attended a Pentecostal church, and it was there I learned to cry out to God from the depths of my soul. I was sure heaven heard my every cry. In God there are no limits and all things are possible—if you believe. The wonderful stories in the Bible captured my imagination—Jesus walking on water; a talking donkey; the crossing of the Red Sea; the feeding of five thousand with two fish and five loaves of bread, and of course, raising Lazarus from the dead— those stories brought my limitless beliefs to life. I’ve also encountered the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, which always leaves me feeling high and lifted up. It creates an unexplainable fearlessness inside of me. I am proud to say that I have experienced for myself the power of God. It is that power which sustains me, and it causes me, to this very day, to believe.”