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Sewing Sweetness

The threads of this Cape Cod quilt-maker’s talent connect her to admirers far and wide.

Photo by Jennifer Dow

Photo by Jennifer Dow

Tucked away on a wooded hillside in Dennis, Joyce Harvey’s small brown house does not seem remarkable at first glance. But the second you walk through her front door, you know that that there is something fantastic about the person who lives here.

It is a little like the scenes in Harry Potter movies where you pass through ordinary everyday walls into a world where magic is commonplace. Every imaginable space in Joyce’s house is covered with something wonderful that she has created. It is as if she can wave a wand and fashion beautiful quilts, paint expressive oil paintings, knit scarves in bright colors—even design and build dollhouses furnished with hand-fashioned tiny furniture.

When you ask Joyce, who looks younger than her 80 years, how she learned to be so good at such a wide range of crafts, she waves a dismissive hand. “I never took any classes,” she says, her enthusiasm lighting up the small dark rooms stuffed from floor to ceiling with her artistry—and that of others. “I just do these things because I love to. And I like to share what I make with other people.”

Joyce’s lovely quilts—each one unique with an intricate colorful design created with eclectic fabrics and decorative accents—have found their way to some far-flung places, like France, Italy, and U.S. military bases abroad. She is constantly creating something—usually working on several projects at the same time.

“I like to have three quilts going at once so I don’t get bored,” says Joyce, who admits she likes to sit in an over-stuffed armchair and watch soap operas while her hands work. “Each quilt takes me about three weeks to complete,” she says. “I used to be faster . . .but now, I’m older than the Pope!”

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