Sacred Threads-- Thoughts about "Everything I Need"

On the day the Arts Ministry team carefully unwrapped and sorted the quilts of the “Sacred Threads” traveling exhibit, I was captured by their stunning beauty and techniques that were far beyond simple stitching. It was only at the opening the following Saturday that I began to listen to each artist as they connected their journey and purpose in making their art.

Joyce Watkins King later asked me to write about one of the quilts. This was a difficult choice since all of them reflected beauty, exceptional technical skill and meaningful stories; however, I soon discovered one that spoke directly to me.


Terry Hartzell’s “Everything I Need” is a beautiful image portraying a young girl who is surrounded by a continuous stream of repetitive phrases stating, “I have everything I need.” I was attracted to this quilt on many levels; it was painted directly onto whole cloth that produced a luminous glow captured in hand- dyed cloth. I much prefer this to commercial fabrics stitched together, because most fabrics are printed from different dye processes. Her technique of quilting around words appealed to me as it made the words three-dimensional in low relief as they gently pop off the surface.

Colors used by the artist were bright ranges of pink and red, alluding to raw emotion and stress as she journeyed through her grief. In her live interview,* Terry recounted a difficult time in her life when her mother died only three weeks from being diagnosed with cancer. She cared for her mother those last weeks and used the mantra, “I have every thing I need,” as she faced each day.

Terry used a young girl to represent all those left with loss and mourning. The birds were placed surrounding the girl as faith, family, friends, and self -affirmation. These elements are critical as one heals from loss. A mantra is universal, often used to quiet the mind and focus on a specific goal. In addition the mantra was used to honor Terry’s parents. They left a strong and resilient child who was successful in processing through the stages of grief and adjusting to life without them.

*Please note that you too can learn more about each of the 36 quilts in this show by using your smart phone: Dial the number and enter the number associated with each quilt on its note card (beside each quilt).
written by Rachel Nicholson

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