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|