by Bella Erakko
For the first time at the Alliance Art Gallery, member and fiber artist Ann Miller Titus will be displaying twelve quilts from her “The Things We Carry” series. This collection began several years ago when Ann found herself profoundly moved by a video of a performance in the Canary Islands by Canton, MO artist Cherie Sampson. “Cherie’s performance spoke to me,” she explains. “I began to think of quilts that depict the things we carry, both physical and emotional.” Thus began a journey taking Ann into a depth she never expected. She began to collect what she called a “bank” of concepts and ideas centered around The Things We Carry and then set about sewing quilts that depict the relationships between joy and sorrow, memory, and even a representation of Sampson’s masked and costumed performance in Spain.
One of the quilts that will be exhibited depicts a value of Ann’s: We Carry Each Other. “I believe in our interconnectedness and through that, our obligation to help each other.”
Another quilt called Agendas, is currently one of her favorites because, as she admits, “I am an agenda person.” She adds, “That quilt began with a piece of fabric that looked as though it had lines on it, like a notepad with bullet points.” As she added fabrics to the composition, it became clear that this quilt would represent the planner/organizer side of her personality.
Most of the artist’s quilts begin with a piece of fabric: one that has an interesting shape or color or pattern. Then, as the first piece of fabric attracts a second and a third, the story begins to emerge and she reaches into her “bank” of themes for a title.
But sometimes the story takes a twist. The quilt titled A Sense of Direction started with … mis-direction. The fabric and the concept she anticipated didn’t fit together. Titus kept working on the composition and set the concept aside. Then one day, she saw it: “OH. It is about having a sense of direction or at least believing you have such a sense.” Ann learned about north, south, east and west as a Second Grader in Hamilton, Illinois with the teacher positioning students’ arms “west” towards the Mississippi River. Titus laughs, “My sense of direction totally depends on my being near to and east of the river. If not, I’m lost!”
With this series nearing completion, gallery visitors will be given a rare opportunity to see this series of work, in one place, “The Things We Carry.”
An opening reception will be held Saturday, August 10, from 5:00 until 8:00 pm. A piece of Ann Miller Titus’s work will be given away in a free drawing held at 6:00. This reception coincides with Hannibal’s Second Saturday Gallery Night.