The Long and Short of It

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The Long and Short of It

My sewing room is a very small upstairs room at the end of a long hall.  The design wall is directly opposite the door.  This works out nicely when I need to step back and take a long view.  Does the piece get my attention from a distance?  Does it encourage me to get closer?  And when I step into the room and up to the quilt is there something that surprises me, something that makes the effort to get close worth the effort?  

This brand new piece just came out of the dryer.  It's nicely puckered and slightly damp so I can coax it into a reasonably flat rectangle.  Then the deliberations begin as to whether or not it's done.  A few more days of taking the long view then stepping up to the short view to see what is left to be done.

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Untended 

Untended 

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A Fine Set of Circumstances

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A Fine Set of Circumstances

A number of years ago, I participated in the Shaw Art Fair in St. Louis.  I believe it was my first year there. The two days had been a good experience and I had met quite a few people and the show was winding down.  Late on Sunday afternoon, a woman came back to my booth and purchased a piece, Laundry.  She told me that it was her first piece of fiber art that she had ever purchased, that she really liked the piece, and that she was interested in working with textiles herself.  The sale really boosted my confidence in participating in an art show in such a large community.

Fast forward to yesterday.  I received an email from Suzy Farren.  I had briefly met Suzy, an artist from the St. Louis area, at Art Saint Louis in 2013.  I had noted that she had a piece juried into the Fiber Focus 2015 Exhibit there this year and had enjoyed seeing her piece, The Elephant in the Room, now on exhibit at the Quincy Art Center's Biennial Quad States Exhibit.  Here is a link to her website. http://suzyfarren.com

Here's part of what Suzy told me yesterday.

"Hi Ann, I went this morning to see the wonderful fiber show at Art Saint Louis, and I was so struck by your beautiful quilt. Robin and I chatted about you, and she mentioned you are always at the Shaw Art Fair. And I said, "I wonder if that quilt I bought years ago was by Ann." I had long looked for a name on the piece but couldn't see one. 

Today I was able to find your name sewn on the lower right corner. And the date: 2006. Your piece was my very first piece of fiber art! Since then, I have become a fiber artist  myself -- though my work is very different than yours. In fact, I have a piece in the Art St. Louis show too. I also have a piece in the Quincy Biennial. 

But I just wanted to say hi and to let you know how much I treasure your piece and also how wonderful your Art St. Louis piece is."

What a treat!  After several emails back and forth, we have agreed to meet next month when she comes to Quincy to see the Quad States exhibit.  

The actual making of art is, for me, a particularly solitary endeavor.  But the reason for exhibiting that art, is for me, an effort to connect.  And this seems to be a perfect example of how those connections are made and renewed.  

Laundry Ann Miller Titus 2006

Laundry Ann Miller Titus 2006

The Elephant in the Room Suzy Farrren  

The Elephant in the Room Suzy Farrren

 

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When Art Makes You "Happy"

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When Art Makes You "Happy"

I always enjoy participating in the Midsummer Arts Faire in Quincy.  It's  a great opportunity to see old friends and to meet new people.  This year was no exception.

I was very fortunate this year to have received the Pat Surface Founder's Award for my work, which included a very generous monetary award.  And I am grateful to this year's judge for the recognition.

The judge had asked me several questions about my work, the techniques, the processes.  And we chatted awhile about the nature of my art quilts and how they seem to provide a familiar landscape to people who may not always be comfortable with non-representational art.  There was more talk about art in general.  And as he turned to leave my booth he said, "I can't imagine anyone coming into this booth and not leaving a bit happier."  

I don't set out to make "happy" art.  Some of my recent work was made after a serious illness when I was trying to sort out the balance between living with fear and living with joy. Maybe for me, that's where "happy" resides, where bitter and sweet intersect.  Maybe it's the tension between the two that brings me to the beauty of the present.  Maybe for me, that's "happy". At any rate, I was very grateful for his words.  And the award.

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City Planner finds a home

In 2012, I was a patient at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. The pain and fear of my cancer diagnosis and pending surgery was mediated by the excellent care of the staff and volunteers at the clinic and by the amazing art that is exhibited throughout the facility. Seeing original works from some the world's most renown artists, was an important aspect of my healing.

And so it is with great excitement that I ready my art quilt, City Planner, for installation in the new patient wing at Blessing Hospital, here in Quincy. The quilt has been purchased by the hospital, thanks to a gift from a generous donor who also understands the importance of the physical environment to our physical and spiritual beings. 

To make the story even more meaningful, I started this quilt before my illness, worked on it I during my treatments at the Blessing Cancer Center, and completed the quilt in 2013, after treatments had finished. 

It seems to be a fitting example of how art can heal. I hope that City Planner will be a source of beauty, reflection and healing for those who see it at Blessing.

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