For Zy Garrett ’22, the magic is in the details. So, when the opportunity arose to design color blocks for Berea’s new line of quilts, launching this autumn, she was excited.

“I like things that are very detailed,” she said. “I look at the time and the effort. It means a lot because I know what it feels like to work so hard on something. Once you get it done, you feel so good inside.”

The engineering technologies and applied design (ETAD) major and computer science minor chose a yellow called “Bright Idea” for her color block, with the name and the color calling out to her. All the pieces of quilt Zy has made have featured a yellow block at the center.

Photo of Zy Garrett in the quilt making studio
Photo by Amir Aref ’25

“We have a lot of freedom in designing and making the quilts,” she said. “That means much more. I had the freedom to create, and that makes the quilt much more personal.”

Each quilt can have as many as nine students working on it, each sewing in their personal and meaningful quilt block patterns and colors. The tag on the quilt reveals the names of the quilters, their graduation years and majors. This is the first line of quilts Berea has ever produced.

These quilts, and everything being produced in the weaving studio today, are so different than what was made in years past, which relied on established historical designs and patterns. Today, students are encouraged to bring their design ideas and creativity into everything they make. “I think they’re going to be well received,” Zy said.

Aside from a trip to Washington, D.C., with the Craft Education and Outreach Program, Kentucky is as far away from her Oxford, Ala., home as Zy has ever been. An artist at heart and a self-described perfectionist, she got her start painting murals and designing t-shirts while volunteering at her hometown library. She aspires to become an animator and graphic designer. But first, she’s going to South Korea to teach English to kindergartners.

“I really like being around kids and seeing the things they come up with,” she said. “I love their energy. They’re so funny, and they’re so cute.”

In preparation for her journey across the globe, Zy produced a stop-motion animated video to help her teach children the English alphabet.

Photo of Zy Garrett in the quilt making studio
Photo by Amir Aref ’25

“I’ve loved animation ever since I was little,” she said. “I was always watching Pixar, Disney, etc., and I just love the detail and the time that people put into making graphic designs and animation.”

Now at the end of her collegiate years, Zy says Berea has been a blessing. “I don’t think I’d be the person I am today if I didn’t come here,” she said. “Berea changed me in a good way. I’ve become a better person. I feel more outspoken and more open to experiencing different things.”

Every Piece Tells a Story

When you purchase a handmade Berea College Student Craft product, you are
buying much more than a quilt or a blanket. Each piece is imprinted with the
identity and heart of the student who made it.

Berea’s new quilt line launches this fall.

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