Quilt Art Using “Tactile Sight”
Art of Ann Miller Titus
Of our five senses, touch is perhaps the most forgotten or ignored, yet it offers powerful ways of insight. Some years back, medical science discovered a way to reverse a form of blindness, and a patient (blind from birth) received the gift of sight. His friends eagerly took him to see—for the first time—a lathe but he could not “see” without touching it because his brain never developed the interpretive skill of visual sight. He saw the world though highly developed “tactile sight.”
Fiber artists, though gifted with sight, have an extraordinary attraction to touch. Ann Miller Titus, the Alliance Art Gallery’s spotlighted member for January, encountered her “tactile sight” at the young age of six . Her thread-loving, hand-sewing, quilt-making, wardrobe creating grandmothers began to place thread and fabric in her tiny hands. She cross stitched kits. She used a spool with nails to produce woven coils of yarn stitched into potholders. In her grandmothers’ age, stitchery formed an essential and practical part of life: homemade clothing was more affordable than store bought; quilts provided warmth; decorative stitching adorned walls, pillows, and chairs. They had no time to explore the artistic potential of fiber and thread.
Titus, perhaps inheriting her love of touch from her grandmothers, always retained her attraction to fiber. For the past 25 years, she has experimented with wide varieties of design techniques to alter textiles, still honoring her quilt-making roots.
Anyone closely examining her work will be amazed at the complex yet highly satisfying stitchery that transforms each piece into a durable and beautiful piece. Her latest series of art quilts, “The Things That We Carry”, started with video and photo documentation of performance artist, Cherie Sampson who used mask and costume to show a woman collecting and becoming slowly weighed down by refuse and items discarded by others.
An opening reception will be held on Saturday, January 13 from 5 until 8:00, with a free drawing for a piece of Titus’s work at 6:00.
More of Titus’s work can be seen at her website www.annmillertitus.com.