Tuesday, June 27, 2017

I did it!!!!--day 36

What better way to celebrate 36 years supporting myself making quilts than to post 36 images of quilts I had made, I thought. Sure the number seemed large--would I have 36 things to say? Would I actually manage to post every day for 36 days? That is a commitment. While I had written a blog for a number of years, it had fallen by the wayside  as I created a new web site, worked on my Etsy shop and posted on social media. Still I liked the concept of writing about my quilts so I decided that it was worth a try.

The only way to do it was to start and then keep carrying on. I wasn't going to worry if people would read it. This was an exercise for myself. I could do it. Some days I confess I had little to say. A lovely picture, a few words. Other times the quilt had a story I wanted to tell. When I make a quilt, I tell myself to just keep going. If I can do just a bit of what I know every day then eventually the quilt will take on its own life and get done.

That was the story of these three pieces. It was an order that came on the phone. It seemed like it wouldn't be that difficult. Three quilts, each 32x72 inches. Each designed to look like marsh grasses with the light sparkling through them. I had made smaller variations on this theme and so I took the commission. My schedule was full and I couldn't start right away.

When I did begin, I realized these were going to take a lot longer than I had anticipated. Size does matter. I was working with one very large piece of fabric. The sheer volume of the piece meant that adding the fabric was more labor intensive. I had to remember what I had done previously since I couldn't see the whole as I worked. Still I kept going forward. Piece by piece. A bit every day.

Even getting one of the hangings done didn't feel like progress since there were three of them.  Still the only way out was through. Finally. Finally. They were finished. I could have their images taken and send them off.

Now the studio seems a bit empty. There are walls to fill. New quilts to make. And as to my blog posts, I do intend to keep creating them although not every day and not always about my quilts. The celebration itself will continue with cupcakes on Saturday July 8 from 2-6 during Second Saturday in Shelburne Falls. So mark your calendar. Stay tuned. Thank you for reading.

scenes from the marsh--96x72"--Ann Brauer 2016, 2017--images by John Polak

Monday, June 26, 2017

sometimes the name says it all--day 35

Maybe it is because Pluto is so far away it becomes a distant dream. Maybe it just seems lonely and mysterious at the edge of our solar system with its moon Charon. I liked it when the scientists were going to name one of the larger planetoids in the Kuiper Belt after a female goddess--I forget which one.

But really when they decided to demote Pluto to planetoid status--that was going to far. Now obviously I am not a scientist. Although I did listen to the lengthy explanations on Science Friday I still felt--even feel--they were wrong.

Hence this quilt.Which I finished just before we began receiving those wonderful images from the space with the red hills and the blue atmosphere that actually extends further than that of my planets.
For in my logic, "Pluto is a Planet." And right now this quilt is hanging up at the Salmon Falls Gallery salmonfallsgallery.com which is fitting since that gallery carries many of the imaginary planets of Josh Simpson as well as many other amazing local artists.

pluto is a planet--40x40"--ann brauer 2015--photo by John Polak

Sunday, June 25, 2017

my mother's mother--day 34

When I think of my mother's mother, the word I would use is "nice". She had wonderful white hair. She did not live with us but would come and when she came to visit us she would sit on the porch and count the number of white cars that went by on the highway. She would bring my sister and I color by number sets with pencils and then sit at the dining room table and help us complete the images. After all she had attended the Art Institute of Chicago when it was a finishing school for young women.

When she left my sister and I would redo her coloring since it was always too light. We called her Grandmother.

And yes, she also made quilts. Not the intricate original quilts of my other grandmother but the carefully pieced quilts that women did back then just because it was the thing to do. The Grandmother's Flower Garden and Trip Around the World. The appliqued flowers. All in wonderful soft pastels.

She died when I was still in grade school. Only later did I learn that while she may not have been much of an artist, she was a sound business woman who guided my Grandfather's string of grocery stores through the Great Depression. When they finally closed, she then ran the Candy Stores which supported the family for many years after that.

I also learned that rather than dreading her regular visits to us on the farm, she looked forward to being in the country which was where she had been raised.

As an adult I wish I had gotten to know her a better. What was the price she paid for being both nice and a business woman back then? How did she balance every thing?

In many ways, this quilt--Summer Garden--which I made a number of years ago is a tribute to her and that generation. Its sister is actually in the collection of the American Museum of Art + Design in New York (although they don't usually show it)  and was part of the Six Continents of Quilts Show in 2001. How hard this quilt was to make--can you see the roots not only in Grandmother's Garden but also in the log cabin pattern. Each of the seams had to be tied off at both ends. I even used different colors of black fabric to give even more substance to the piece.  Of course each block was different. And yet the whole is certainly more than the sum of the parts, at least in my opinion.

summer garden--about 90x90 inches--Ann Brauer--2001--image by John Polak





Saturday, June 24, 2017

maples--day 33

I love the maples on the fence row--carefully planted in an even row. The rhythm of life and maple syrup. Defining the fields and the road. Each maple different but also the same.

Aren't they like the regular pieces of a quilt one after the other until it becomes greater than the parts?

maples--quilt--45x17--ann brauer

Friday, June 23, 2017

just saying--day 32

Sometimes I just have to say something. I am so saddened by the feeling that pervades our country right now. Aren't we all despite our differences in this together? Can't we do better? Can't we be better?

I could go on. And on.  And on.

Instead I will just post this quilt--I forget what I called it. But doesn't it make a statement. At least I hope so.

untitled--50x50"--quilt--Ann Brauer--photo by John Polak


Thursday, June 22, 2017

more than a quilt--day 31

By now it should be clear that I love making quilts. I love looking at the many wonderful fabrics and playing with them to create wondrous new landscapes that the viewer can linger in. I love making lovely potholders and eyeglass cases, placemats and table runners that can be used and enjoyed every day. Even the smallest scrap of fabric can create an inspiration for me. That is me and how I think.

But recently I have also been experimenting with giving my quilts an even more formal presentation. An existence that takes them beyond the soft and friendly to a place of even more substance if that is a good way of phrasing it.

These are quilts but--and I hesitate to say this--are they also making a statement that quilts can be more than quilts. Or are all quilts something more but we don't always realize this?

I don't know. For me I am like a kid in a toy store with something new to play with. I'm not sure where this will lead. I am not even sure it matters but I am having fun. And isn't this part of what life is about? What do you think?

two mounted quilts--2017--ann brauer



Wednesday, June 21, 2017

from both sides now--Day 30

Recently I have been working on one of those on-line interviews. You may know the type--you get a bunch of questions and type in your answers. A nice way to get publicity so I really can't object although of course it takes longer than I would like to write my answers and make sure they are coherent,  fresh and interesting.

One of the questions that this particular interview asks is what are my plans for the future. Now, I don't know about you but I am always hesitant to commit myself to the future. Who knows what tomorrow may bring? Will I have a new crisis to deal with? Or maybe a new commission? Will I get inspired and switch my direction slightly? Even after all of these years, I am always a bit worried about jinxing myself.

Instead I keep notes on new quilts on various pieces of paper in my studio and leave quilts that interest me on my desk top as a gentle reminder that I have more to explore.

Last winter when I was in Chicago doing the OOAK Show, I made a pilgrimage to the Art Institute to visit Clouds by Georgia O'Keefe. So large and wonderful. The clouds floating above the earth. One of my all time favorite paintings.  I just sat there and tried to absorb its splendor.

How can I create the feeling of light and expanse that she achieved?  Wouldn't it be wonderful to make such a grand quilt? I look at an image of my quilt "notes on the twilight" and wonder if there is just a bit of this freedom in it? How I would love to play with this design some more.
notes on the twilight--40x80 inches--Ann Brauer 2017--photo by John Polak