She graduated from the Ontario College of Art with a Diploma in Applied Design (Honours). This was at a time when a great National effort was being made to elevate crafts to a higher status –beautiful, useful and saleable creations.
Annora’s earliest response to the economic challenges she faced, when called back to Fort Macleod to be a care-giver, was to think through how she could design and sell her midget paintings for $1. Each was a touch of beauty which her Depression-challenged neighbours could afford.
So many of her illustrations make me want to take embroidery thread and needle in hand. For the Guild, she produced “One hundred formalized motifs of Western themes: flowers, birds, grain elevators, fences, telephone lines, the four seasons – all for reproduction in needle work and hooked rugs.”
In addition, in Patricia Alderson’s thesis we read “symbols of Alberta formed the basis for her designs, including native flowers, prairie birds, the Rockies, grain elevators, cowboys, Mounted Police, deer and Indian themes.”
Encouraging quality art among Indian and Eskimo crafters, and helping them develop a market for their work, was an important initiative of the Canadian Handicraft Guild. Here, too, Annora Brown avidly made her contribution by encouraging and helping preserve the design-motifs of the Blackfoot people.
J.M. Dent & Sons brought this work directly into classrooms and homes with the books they published that featured Annora’s illustrations. (It is estimated she completed 600 illustrations for 8 books.)
At Art School she repeatedly received awards (including scholarships) for the various “design” submissions she crafted. In 1935 her batik received recognition in an Alberta Exhibition. She worked with stained glass. Each of her flower paintings is wonderfully crafted with hints of leaves and rocks, grasses and insects that give context and vitality. For Annora Brown art and craft became one.
Does anyone have samples any of her hand-crafted work? To be treasured!
Annora Brown: Handicraft & Art – Joyce Sasse
Our goal is to preserve and record the life and achievements of Ms. Brown. If you have any information, know where we can locate private / public paintings, would like to send us copies of books or you are willing to donate to help with costs for acquiring / re-matting paintings and prints etc., please contact us at
We Need Your Help
Picture courtesy of Mary-Beth Laviolette
Then enter “Annora Brown” into Keywords/Phrase
Or you may order prints at:
Digitized photographs of 260 Annora Brown paintings in the Glenbow Museum (wild flowers, Blackfoot culture & art, landscapes in the Oldman and Waterton River drainage area) can be viewed at:
Mountain Shooting Star 58.45.23 - Collection of Glenbow
Used with permission of Annora Brown Estate