Sunday, December 31, 2017

it's about color

OK--I know that my next show is the Baltimore Craft Show February 23-25 right when people are thinking the bright happy colors of spring. Indeed many people even now want the bright clear colors of hope and light. And I have several orders lined up ready to be filled.

And yet sometimes I just have to see what will happen. Color after all does reflect the depths of my soul. (Yes, that sounds maybe a bit profound but it still can be true for me.) Winter is just starting here in the North East and it is dark and cold. The holidays are over and so I decided to create.

What do I need to make? What intrigues me? For some reason it is the complex nature of browns in all their glory. Soon I know I must begin anticipating the season and moving on to light and warm days but I couldn't resist. Interesting how color can just lead me on.

brown flame--quilt--Ann Brauer--2017
Don't you love all these fabrics? Can you see what I had so much fun?

detail--brown flame--quilt--Ann Brauer

Does this ever happen to you? For more information on the Baltimore Show check out their web site. I'm in Booth 1309. And of course I listed it on my Etsy shop

Friday, December 8, 2017

go big or go home--part one

Let's face it. Chicago is big. There are lots of people. Traffic from all directions. Buildings that stretch to the sky and then reflect it.

view of Chicago from Merchandise Mart

The lions at the Art Institute are big.

lions outside of Art Institute--Chicago

One of my favorite paintings by Georgia O'Keefe is so big they had to build a special wall just to display it.

clouds--Georgia O'Keefe--Art Institute

So last year after doing OK at the One of a Kind Show I decided that I wanted to go big. Wouldn't my work look great in a larger booth? They give me the hard white walls, the carpet, the lights. Sure the show is a long hard drive from home. The lines for load in and load out are carefully controlled chaos. And the price to do the show is--let's face it--big.

Still I told myself I wouldn't know until I tried. When I was offered a larger booth I decided I had to try. Let's face it, I decided to rebuild my studio because I knew I had more quilts to make and I wanted to make them. Quilts can be more than fine craft and I want to make big quilts that transcend the medium. I spent all autumn working for this show.  I had other fairs to do and orders to fill, but I kept imagining myself in this large space.

Of course I didn't have nearly enough time to get all the quilts in my imagination done. How delighted I was to read that Claude Monet was frustrated that his wonderful stacks of wheat paintings took much longer than he wanted to complete. Don't you love to read labels at the Museum.

stack of wheat--Claude Monet--Art Institute

I set up the booth. Thought it looked great in its largeness and splendor and then waited. Is it the kiss of death if other artists think your booth looks grand?  Or was it because it was Thursday? Did I forget to convey the idea that these are quilts? Does that matter? Should it matter? After all it only takes a couple of good customers.

Or maybe there is more I need to do to achieve my idea. My concept. I'll try to keep you posted. Meanwhile wish me well. If you are in the Chicago area my booth is 4123. I would love to know what you think?

booth--OOAK Chicago--Ann Brauer 2017

Friday, December 1, 2017

red sun

Sometimes, less is more. Up close and personal. For a while I had it hanging so I could see it every day as I sewed. Secretly I have always longed to make it as one big quilt in four panels. That would be a challenge and yet it would command attention. And yet eventually, I put it aside as I moved on to more landscapes. Still, there is a power here that may demand a space in my booth at the
One of a Kind Show next week-end in Chicago.

After all,  it would be fun to look at it again, wouldn't it?

red sun--40x40"--Ann Brauer 2015--image by John Polak

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

the colors of summer

Does this ever happen to you? I start a new series and some of the last of my old work gets put aside. Sure I hang it occasionally but usually I leave it in the studio when I do a show. It is too big for the booth. If it hasn't sold so far, will it actually find a home if I show it. Yes, I do a cost benefit analysis in my mind at every show. Not because I am a strict business person--after all I am an artist--but I also have to think about selling the work if I want to continue to be an artist. That is just the way it is.

Still the quilt sits on my Desktop--I like to have inspiration there when I work on my e-mails or post on Etsy. It is in the studio where I see hints of it most days as I ponder the latest quilt on my design wall. Or study the quilts I have hanging on the walls for guidance and inspiration.

And yes, I think I need to see it again. It may work at the One of a Kind Show. I'm not sure. In my mind I revisit again and again on the white walls. This time my booth is 10x15. What a luxury. Should I have gone for the larger booth? I will never know unless I try. It just felt like the right thing to do.

And yes, "colors of summer" feels like the right quilt to bring. I love the complex colors created by piecing so many thin strips of cotton fabric. I love the change in size that affects the design of the quilt and that tells a story. I love the memory of choosing that bottom green row. Such a hard decision to make--I lingered over that colorway for days-- and yet I feel it anchors the quilt.

Who knows if it is the right decision? I may change my mind at the show and tuck it away. But for now I plan to pack it and hang it and enjoy it in all its geometric beauty.

colors of summer--quilt--Ann Brauer 2013--image by John Polak
What do you think? Does this ever happen to you? And if you are coming to the show please drop by my Booth 4131 and check it out. Thanks.

Monday, November 27, 2017

gentle morning

Sometimes a cloudy morning. The sun rises, the sky brightens but there are no shadows. Still there is a beauty in calm. There is subtle quiet--a time to breathe and relax. A time to admire all the subtle colors and changes. The little stories that combine to create a day, a place, alife.

This is another in my landscape quilts that I plan to bring to the One of a Kind Show in Chicago December 7-10.

gentle morning--40x40"--Ann Brauer 2017--image by John Polak

What do you think? Do you ever just sit and enjoy the moment?  Do you let your mind wander?

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

and the mountain

Sure it is not a large mountain. In the west it would probably be considered a foothill. Indeed the peak is only 1588 feet above sea level.  But to me, Mt Massamaett is like a friend that I welcome every day as it rises just beyond the Deerfield River in such a friendly and almost protective manner.

In the spring I can watch the green move up the slope. In summer it is green with the occasional bald eagle soaring above it hunting for a meal in the river. Of course autumn has the many colors of the trees from the first brilliant golds to the rusted reds of the oaks at the end of the summer. As the days darken I watch the line of the sun shine creep up the slope earlier and earlier. And of course there is the moon rising above it shining bright and full.

So many views. So many moods.

This quilt "mountain and sun" is one of new works that celebrates this mountain and the sky above it. I am pleased that it was chosen to hang in the Fine Art Gallery at the One of a Kind Show December 7-10 at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. Yes!!! Quilts are art.

mountain and sun--40x40"--Ann Brauer 2017--image by John Polak

What do you think? What inspires you?

Sunday, November 19, 2017

I get inspired

Sometimes I get inspired. Finally this summer I had time to create a new series of quilts. What a wonderful feeling that is of freedom and adventure. Concentration and excitement. Where will the new work go? How will others see it?

Where did this vision come from? I must say I don't know. For me that is the fun of it. Clearly it is part of my line of landscape quilts that evolved from my new studio. And yet there is a feeling of light and joy in them that draws me forward.

As I get ready for the last day at the Paradise City Arts Festival in Marlboro, MA and then do final preparations for the One of a Kind Show in Chicago I have decided to begin a series of posts that highlight some of the new quilts.

And what a way to begin with mountain sunrise. Sure I have made quilts that capture the glory of the rising sun. One of the best parts about the darker days of winter is that I get to witness it more frequently. This time though I am also influenced by the gentle power of the mountains containing and defining the light. At least that is how I see it. What do you think? What inspires you?

mountain sunrise--40x40"--copyright Ann Brauer 2017--image by John Polak

Monday, October 2, 2017

textile curator

I am honored to have some of my recent quilts featured in the most recent blog post by Textile Curator. Thanks so much.

seasons of the marsh--32x72"--Ann Brauer 2017--image by John Polak

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

memories of the eclipse

It seems such a long time ago that my DH and a friend of his drove down to North Carolina to see the total eclipse in all its splendor. Not me. I had quilts to make. Sure I went outside and saw the light change color even through the hazy clouds. I even felt a very mystical breath of cool air at the height of the eclipse here in Massachusetts. And of course I looked at the wonderful images on the internet.

Luckily one of the quilts I was busy creating was this custom order of the eclipse for a person who was traveling to the St Louis area to experience totality. What fun I had imagining the sun gone dark with the memories of the warmth and light hidden by the moon. And of course the corona focusing our attention on its marvelous light against the dark sky with bits of stars peeking through.

Sure it is not an exact replica--that was not my purpose but just a broad simple statement of the event.

What do you think? Did you get to witness the event? Have you seen an eclipse?

memories of the eclipse--40x40"--copyright Ann Brauer 2017

Monday, August 28, 2017

the color of the thread

OK--this is not the largest decision I will make today. Not
the largest one I will make in the course of creating this quilt. But still--it matters. As everything about the quilt does create the effect of the whole. And if I get it wrong, I can guarantee you that I will not know about it in time to change it. So of course I spend time thinking about it and trying samples.

Let me step back for a moment. This time I am working on a quilt that portrays the eclipse. It is a custom order and the purchaser knew what he wanted. Indeed he told me the colors and the concept which luckily is a concept that I was eager to pursue. Dark red/black center--white corolla--surrounded by deep blue sky. What a great concept. So much power in this quilt.

eclipse of the sun--ann brauer 2017--quilt

Now coincidentally I am loosely studying some of the landscapes of Marsden Hartley. I am not sure I will make it to the see the retrospective at Colby College this summer but I am drawn to the simple power of his paintings and looking at reproductions of this work did influence this quilt.

But now the question at hand is what color should I use to quilt the work. Now the color of the thread adds just a bit to the piece. There is a slight tinge from this stitching. There is also the decision as to how much I want the quilting to stand out.

My technique to decide is simple. I hold up the possible thread colors and step away from the quilt. How do the different colors relate to the quilt? Based on my experience with other quilts, what will the effect be on this piece.

My first choices were either blue, yellow or red.

eclipse of the sun--quilt--Ann Brauer 2017

I have used yellow a lot on my quilts but I think this time it will stand out too much against the dark blues and reds. The blue would look great for the two outer colors but I worry about it against the red which I want to look dark like the whole in the sky the sun became when the moon passed over it.

OK--that may lead me to check out different reds.

eclipse of the sun--quilt--Ann Brauer 2017

Not bad--although I fear the dark red will become totally lost in the center and the brighter red may stand out too much against the blue. Mmmm. Something to ponder.

I look through my thread colors again--what am I missing. Suddenly it occurs to me--red and blue combine to form purple. How would that work. Certainly it would keep the two prominent colors balanced and would tie them together with lines that would show against the white.

eclipse of the sun--quilt--Ann Brauer

What an interesting concept. I'll think about it overnight and then decide. After all, I want to finish this quilt. My mind has been planning so many more quilts and I still have four craft shows to do.

What do you think? How do you choose what color to quilt with? And have you seen the Marsden Hartley exhibit?

Friday, August 4, 2017

Thursday, August 3, 2017

selling on Etsy

autumn sunset--40x40 inches--Ann Brauer 2016--image by John Polak

I was honored to be interviewed by Clara Nartey on how I use Etsy as part of my marketing plan.

I hope you enjoy. Let me know what you think.

The answer to SCAM is:

Nothing can protect you from all scams--sigh. I do use Etsy though as a barrier from most of the scammers. As far as I can figure out, Etsy will not confirm an order until it has confirmed the payment. I have had orders pending for some time as they work on establishing the legitimacy of the order.

I almost always ship using USPS Priority Mail or UPS or FedEx with a tracking number so I can prove that the shipment was received. Etsy does offer a money back guarantee so if they are not satisfied they can return the item. If the same person orders more than one item consecutively I do not ship them together even though it would save them money unless it is someone I have dealt with previously.

There is also a forum section where you can read about the other scams that sellers have encountered and ways to work around them. 

Monday, July 31, 2017

the memory of red hills

Sometimes a quilt is more than a quilt. At least that is my latest thought. Those who have been in my studio recently--or those who follow me on Facebook or Instagram or Etsy--may have seen that I am starting to mount some of my quilts on stretcher boards. What a different look it gives. In the once sense the quilt takes on an added importance. Each stitch seems to become more significant. The quilt is also a given size.

Now I have occasionally mounted quilts before. I used to frame a few of them just to show people they could. Customers have also had quilts framed. They do look great.

On the other hand, I miss the immediacy of quilts as fiber art. Something that everyone can relate to.  For a long time I have resisted the preciousness of mounting quilts. Does it make them more than they are. I can feel a different reaction to the mounted pieces when customers view them in the studio. And I know that it will be harder to display them at a craft show. I can't just lay the extras out on my shelves to have customers go through them. I can't fit them so easily in my plastic boxes for transport. I haven't even thought about shipping yet.

It will be interesting to see what happens. Certainly I will bring a number of them to the Berkshire Craft Show August 11-13 at Monument Mountain High School in Great Barrington. What a wonderful place to test them out.

Is this a method I will continue? I don't know. But for now I can feel an energy and life in the new works that is pushing me forward. What do you think? Do you mount your work? Do you appreciate mounted quilts or would you rather they were just quilts.

the memory of red hills--12x36"--Ann Brauer 2017

the memory of red hills--12x36"--Ann Brauer 2017

Friday, July 28, 2017

colors of summer

I have been thinking about my quilt "colors of summer" recently as I renewed its listing on my Etsy shop. I still love this quilt but at 45x60" usually I don't display it at craft shows or even hang it in my studio. Oh to have unlimited wall space--sigh. Instead it is waiting with other quilts at the studio for just the right person. And I do list it on my web site and on Etsy.

When I made it, I was working in the studio in exile as I call it now. My view was of the geometry of the Iron Bridge across the Deerfield River with a hint of sky. Amazing isn't it, how location can influence one's work?

I loved the intensity of the colors as the thin seams almost created a work that appeared woven, not sewn with wonderful complex texture and color. It was one of my series of rainbow quilts trying to capture all the colors of summer in one piece of art.  Even now I  gently touch the many rows of fabric and feel its substance. Still I smile at the artistic pun of a quilt that looked woven in more ways than one.

The top rows of the quilt came together readily as I remember but oh those bottom rows. What color would create the right feeling and ground the quilt. So many mornings I would wake up thinking of solutions--should it just disappear in smaller and smaller colors. Should it look like water? Maybe the teal should move into a chartreuse to really sing? I would pin fabrics up and pace as I tried to imagine the colors that would work. Then make test samples to try to solve the dilemma.

Finally I chose the bright green of summer grass and leaves. A complete landscape just perfect for the "colors of summer", isn't it? Don't you love how it grounds the quilt and makes it even more of a landscape.

colors of summer--45x60"--Ann Brauer 2013--photo by John Polak

To see more of this quilt do drop by my studio if you are in Shelburne Falls or check out additional images on my Etsy shop.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

As in nature

OK--I confess I wasn't sure about going to see the two Helen Frankenthaler's exhibits at The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA. Sure I knew her work and had seen a number of her paintings scattered here and there throughout different museums but it always struck me as just a part of a larger movement of art from the last half of the 20th century. How ignorant that sounds, doesn't it?

Still it was a major show and only an hour away. The Boston Globe was calling her work "fearless". Didn't I owe it to myself to see it and try to learn more? When else would I get such a wonderful opportunity? It was a rainy Tuesday what could be better? So my DH and I went on an adventure. After all my studio in Shelburne Falls is only about an hour from The Clark.

The woodcuts in the first exhibit No Rules were amazing. So many different colors. So complex and yet so cohesive. Such large works. Sure, I didn't understand all of them. Did I really get the snow on the pines in the woodcut by the same name? No. But the large and I mean large blue woodcut with so many colors and the trees--I could have lingered for hours. Still it didn't hit me I should take pictures to study and absorb. There are quilts waiting to be made after I digest the magnificence of these works.

Then it was on the paintings in the other building. As in Nature. And all I can say is WOW!!!

As in Nature--the paintings of Helen Frankenthaler at the Clark 2017

These works were huge and powerful. Beautifully displayed and so much going on. It was hard to absorb them all. There was Tethys with its darker spaces. Almost a story there. When I glanced at the explanation I could see it was based on a mythical story which I didn't absorb but just looked at those complex colors and strange shapes almost going into another space.

Tethys by Helen Frankenthaler

The more intimate Birth of the Blues.

Birth of the Blues--Helen Frankenthaler

The expanse of Off White Square. So big and majestic and powerful. It took up its own wall.

Off White Square--Helen Frankenthaler

I lingered at Scorpio. One of those works that demanded study and being. Such amazing colors. So many wonderful shapes.

Scorpio--Helen Frankenthaler

Just look at the wonderful details in this painting.

Detail--Scorpio--Helen Frankenthaler

What is not to love about these colors and shapes. The motion that echoes throughout.

Detail--Scorpio--Helen Frankenthaler

And the story  that wants to be told. Don't you love how it is all connected in its own way?

Detail--Scorpio--Helen Frankenthaler

Oh there is so much here. I want to go back again and again while the show is still here until I learn all that I can. Then maybe they will become part of my language.  Have you seen it yet? What did you think? The woodcut show No Rules runs until September 24 and the painting show As in Nature goes until October 9. For more information on the Clark Art Museum

Monday, July 17, 2017

"it comes through me"

Recently I attended a business meeting at the Three Sisters Sanctuary in Goshen, MA. One of those places I have driven by for many many years. Always meaning to stop but it is so close. So convenient. I never made the effort. Still I was curious. Finally I had the perfect excuse.

The place was even more fantastic and imaginative than I thought. So many great spaces with dragons and butterflies,

butterfly--Three Sisters Sanctuary--Ann Brauer
ladies waiting,

lady--Three Sisters Sanctuary--Ann Brauer
 dancing children

Dancing girl--Three Sisters Sanctuary--Ann Brauer

And the rocks.  So hard to capture on camera but they were the stars. Set around spaces for meditation and celebration. I wanted to just wander quietly and revisit them one at a time. Run my hands over them. Pause and commune with them. Then examine all the wonderful mementos that had been left by others. Absorb the space.

Memento--Three Sisters Sanctuary--Ann Brauer

It became even more special when the creator of this space explained his vision. How it kept growing. Each new addition flowing out of him. The rocks that positioned themselves just right to create the perfect feeling. One place where he said he could feel the push pull of two rocks interacting with each other.  The stories. Even the sorrow that inspired the initial vision and that grew as others added their stories and their sorrows and joy to the whole.

Isn't that in part what art is? Something that comes from beyond ourselves and can communicate to others. That taps into the universal and lets us all get a bit of a glimpse of the larger story that is beyond words.

And now that I have stopped by once, I know I must return and absorb it in my own way and with my own vision. Have you been to the Three Sisters Sanctuary? Do you have a space like this near you? Have you stopped and learned some of its mysteries and voices? Does the art come through you?  For more info on Three

Forest person--Three Sisters Sanctuary--Ann Brauer

Friday, July 14, 2017

it's always something

Just when I thought I had my Etsy shop organized and humming along getting ready for the holidays (yes, I do think ahead or at least I try to) Etsy comes along and makes a change. Instead of the five photos that I am accustomed to, I can now show my buyers TEN!!!!  I am sure they did it with the best of reasons. After all, the buyer can't really see the item except in the listing and so the buyer probably does want more information. At least that is their rationalization.

But TEN!!! images. What can I show? I have realized that I don't have any more of these wonderful green place mats. If I don't have them, it must be because they are popular so I make more. They are a wonderful color, aren't they?  Front. Back. Two placemats. Placemats with a plate. For me these are standard.

two green placemats--Ann Brauer 2017

I read the helpful tips. OK--maybe buyers want to see the inside of my studio. That works. I love my studio. I can also show them the outside. After all, it is a wonderful shade of green itself. That also works. Now if I had a nice table I could set it and show the mats in use but the truth is that I don't yet. So I read more suggestions. A work in progress. I do hand stitch the bindings. I can show that. Maybe next time I can show another detail of the construction. Who knows.

green placemats--Ann Brauer 2017

Customers do like to mix and match. That would be a nice image. Let them see what else they could order. Maybe I should do more of these pictures. That could be fun.

two green placemats--Ann Brauer 2017

But for now that will have to do. After all, I also need to make some more placemats. This time I think I will try burgundy. Another  color I don't have. They will look good with the green. I will have to see what other sellers are doing for images. More to think about. More to learn. It is after all, always something, isn't it? If you want to see my finished listing, it is here.

What images would you add? I do welcome suggestions.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

finishing the quilt

I don't know about you but sometimes I find it hard to finish a quilt, especially if it is a custom order which means I must send it off to its rightful home. After all, I have spent a lot of time working on the piece--I have to figure out how I am going to make it. What tweaks will make the quilt just right for its location. After all, the customer usually wants specific colors and sizes. They have honored me by wanting me to create their vision for their home. Think about it for a moment.

Sometimes as is the case with this quilt, the customer the customer liked the colors of an existing quilt but it was not the right size. Since I was going to be remaking the piece, they also wanted me to change the bottom of the quilt to incorporate a design element from another quilt of mine.

OK--I could do this. Of course this meant I had to think about just the right colors and proportion for the new size and design element. I wanted the quilt to sing and be more than the sum of its parts. And I did learn something when I made it. That is the fun of custom orders. They push me to see my work in just a slightly new direction. Now I want to make another in this series--different colors, different feeling. But a quilt that I am curious to see. I should start it as soon as I get to the studio today. That is the best way to get the quilt done.

another fine day--24x60"--quilt--Ann Brauer 2017

Friday, June 30, 2017

above the desert

I love this quilt. It is one of those series of quilts that I created to give a certain feeling that I could not put into words. I know there is a story here--although I am not sure what the story is. Maybe you can tell me....
above the desert--27x61"--annbrauer 2017--photo by John Polak

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 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