A Story Is Worth a Thousand Threads

Posted: Sunday, February 5, 2023

The History of National Storytelling Week

Long before our existence, the art of storytelling originated through intricate scribes on the walls of caves, revealing stories of a time we would never witness firsthand. These narratives included animals, humans, and other intriguing, unidentified objects. Some even resembled ancient versions of graphic novels, without the speech bubbles.ย 

Nonetheless, research and studies have revealed that storytelling has existed since the development of languages, with the earliest evidence being these cave drawings. As the world evolved, so did our storytelling abilities.

Oral storytelling was prominent in ancient cultures such as the Greeks, Sumerians, and Egyptians. It was similarly reflected in Native American culture and is a tradition that continues to this day in some cultures.

Over time, stories changed to incorporate modern inventions: photographs, video recordings, and television became new ways to tell stories. Now, we share and explore stories in many unique forms.

As its name suggests, National Storytelling Week encourages people of all ages, genders, and cultures to participate in this centuries-old form of entertainment. Stories are used to teach, inspire, and influence while conveying ideas, cultures, and values that unite people across geographical and personal barriers.


One of our favorite methods of engaging in storytelling is capturing and reflecting on the travels we indulge in. Frequent AGC traveler, Phyllis, takes her storytelling to another level by turning her favorite travel memories into wall quilts!

"One of the things that I do is make a monthly journal quilt. I call my collection of journal quilts my Book of Experiments and Joys. It is the nature of experiments that they do not always turn out great, and the trip was a definite joy. You will need to look closely at the quilting stitches to see what it is about."

Phyllis enjoys experimenting with quilting techniques and tries to tell a story through hand-sewn compositions. Her creations are a reminder that the textures and colors of nature can be a driving force behind storytelling and can trigger memories through our senses.

๐Ÿ“ Hiking Lodge to Lodge on the Appalachian Trail - October 2020


๐Ÿ“ Hiking Utah's National Parks - April 2021


๐Ÿ“ Boundary Waters Canoe Adventure - September 2021

After Boundary Waters Canoe Adventure in September 2021, Phyllis decided to craft something magical from one of her photos.

This beautiful quilt below, โ€œEnvying the Night Canoers,โ€ measures 30" x 11". Phyllis used colored ink to paint the water and the sky, which is not something she often does.

While Phyllis took the inspirational photo from the shore, she finally made it out on the water on her second evening of the trip and described it as "a magical experience."


๐Ÿ“ Exploring the Big South Fork - April 2022

"I have been working on learning to make abstract landscapes. I hope this one reminds you of some of the amazing geological formations that we saw. I was not happy with it until I added the hikers. The title of the quilt is โ€œHiking Big South Fork,โ€ and the size is 23โ€ x 30โ€."


๐Ÿ“ Trekking to Machu Picchu - June 2022

While some of her quilts experiment with different techniques or styles, others are about things that have brought joy into her life. These incorporate both! She made the small quilt above (8 ยฝโ€ by 11โ€) out of hand-woven scarfs she bought along the trailโ€ฆ.

Phyllis created the wall quilt below (about 20โ€ by 30โ€) out of the same scarfs as the small quilt but inspired by a different photo on 'Trekking to Machu Picchu.'

Although proven to be a challenging process, she decided to use hand-woven Peruvian textiles acquired from her trip. And we think it turned out amazing! Her fellow travel companion, Christy, suggested she add Peruvian spirit animals, so Phyllis incorporated a condor in the top right corner.


๐Ÿ“ Autumn on the Superior Hiking Trail - September 2022


When you return from traveling, where do you store your memories or share your travel stories, Friend?

In a journal, a photo album, or a blog?ย 

If you have a unique way you engage in the art of storytelling, we'd love to hear about it!

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