Heart and Soul quilting
BY MELANIE WILLOUGHBY
In the heart of North Dakota on a tidy farmstead, the soul of a young artist has found expression, connection, and healing through the beautiful art of quilting.
Tanner Verbitsky is 13 years old. Although he attends Velva Public Schools, he lives 35 miles to the southeast on the multi-generational farm that supports his mom, siblings and grandparents. The nearest town is Butte, ND.
Tanner’s family has had its share of tragedy. Tanner’s dad, Shawn Michael Verbitsky, died on April 22, 2013, from colon cancer. He was just 40 years old, leaving behind a widow and three children-including eight- year old Tanner.
That summer, Tanner’s grandmother, Louise Ziegler Verbitsky, encouraged her young grandson to sit down at her sewing machine-a Kenmore 2277-and stitch a stack of quilt squares together.
“Grandma cut up about 100 squares and had me sew them all together. She told me not to worry about accuracy or straight lines; she just wanted me to get used to using the machine,” said Tanner.
That simple project became a passion for the teenager.