Thursday, July 2, 2015

the quilts of Ann Brauer--July 18 ArtWalk

Dear all,

It seems amazing that it is summer already. First it was hot and dry in May. Yes, I had to figure out which precious new plants would get the water from the shower as I tried to keep them all going. Then June brought rain and lots of it. The weeds are doing very well in my garden as the straw mulch I applied in May had lots of grass seeds. Oh well, it is always something.

Meanwhile I am enjoying my new studio even more than I thought I would. It is hard to believe that I have now been in it for more than a year. And today actually began my 34th year of supporting myself making quilts. How time flies.

My new studio continues to inspire me to more and more quilts based on my flames and circles theme. Indeed I often have problems trying to figure out which one to make next. I have decided to treat myself by displaying most of the new pieces in my studio in a mini-show I am calling Circle and Flames during the Shelburne Falls Art Walk this July 18. I am quite curious to see what the grouping will look like and I can't wait to get your comments either. Indeed, having my gallery walls covered with my new quilts is a secret dream of mine I have had for several years--here's hoping it works.
If you happen to be in the Village then I hope you will drop by and say hi. The Walk runs between 4 and 8 pm and most other galleries in town will also be open. The Bridge of Flowers is  absolutely spectacular this year.


green circle--40x40 inches--quilt--Ann Brauer

Of course if you are in town some other day, I should be open--although do call or e-mail first if you are coming from a distance. I am usually closed on Tuesdays.

three flames--each 12 x 60 inches--quilt--Ann Brauer


If you are in town some other day, I will probably be there working on more quilts (although you might want to call if coming from a distance).  August 12-14 I will be doing the Berkshire Craft Show at Monument Mountain High School in Great Barrington. This show always has some wonderful work. For more information: http://berkshirecraftsfair.org/  The American Craft Exposition in Evanston this year will be in September in Glencoe--but more of that later.

Of course you can follow me on Facebook or Instagram to see more of my latest creations. And I continue to post on Etsy for those who live at a distance.

Have a great summer. I hope to see some of you.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

construction zone

I don't know if this ever happens to you, but sometimes I just get in the mood to work with a certain color and then I have to figure out what to do with it. This time it is black and white with just a bit of red.

First, for those who follow me on Facebook, I have almost finished this red moon quilt. Don't you love the simplicity of the halo and the soft drama of the red?

moon quilt--quilt--Ann Brauer--40x40 inches


Then I decided to work on a couple black and white flames. Again a simple statement. But then how to put them together.

quilt--Ann Brauer--wip

Is this too busy? Does the red detract from the simplicity? Yes, it needs one more and I haven't quilted it yet but I did want to see what happens?

quilt--wip--ann brauer


Should they be hung slightly apart? Does this make it easier to examine each one? Interesting question.

What if I hang them like this? Another coastal scene. I do find it an interesting arrangement, don't you?

quilt--wip--ann brauer

Of course I could create just one long wall hanging. Maybe a table runner. Or over the sofa.

quilt--ann brauer--wip
And of course I could include the moon quilt. What fun this would be? Very different. For a large wall or a corporate office.

quilt--wip--ann brauer
And finally this interesting arrangement. The moon stretching beyond into space. Almost a feeling of motion here isn't there? But is the yellow distracting? I know I need a third but should I remake the other flames also?

quilt--ann brauer--wip


It would make a great statement on the back wall of my booth. Maybe in a formal office setting. And of course the quilts could be sold separately--yes, I am always thinking about that bottom line--if you know what I mean. Oh I wish I had time to make all of them. It is hard to decide isn't it? What would you choose? Do you ever play like this with your designs?


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

the quilts of Ann Brauer--I'm on a roll

I know I haven't been writing for a while. What can I say? Well, actually I have a good excuse and it is not just that I need to spend time in my garden. You see, I have been on a roll. Now let me explain. Finally I got inspired as in really inspired.  Now inspiration as many of you may know can be a very delicate and tender process. You just can't tell when it is going to strike or how long it is going to last or even where it is going to take you.  Certainly I didn't want to jinx it by talking about it too early or even thinking about it too much. Instead at least for me it is a question of making one quilt and then making the next one with all deliberate speed and letting the process pull me forward.

This time I am (knock on wood) lucky. As of June 1 I will have been in my new studio a year and I am loving it. Just imagining how the new work will look in such a great space is inspiration in itself.  Right now I also have time to create. My next craft show is not until the Berkshire Craft Show in August at Monument Mountain HIgh School in Great Barrington. The Evanston Show will be in September in a new location--I keep planning how the new quilts will look in that space.

Consider this one I call "blue sun". Yes it is framed. I still need to attach wire for hanging it but doesn't it look smart on the dolly. It is all pieced and quilted, and then I quilted on top of it to give it even more substance and texture.

blue sun--quilt--40x40 inches--Ann Brauer

Then there is the companion quilt which is not quite done--red sun. Won't the two look fabulous together?
red sun--quilt--40x40 inches--Ann Brauer

And of course the flame series. Are they table runners? Wall hangings? They can be used either separately or maybe a pairing go up the stair case.

three flames--each 12 x 60"--quilt--Ann Brauer

When I need a break from such concentration, I still make my smaller items. The eyeglass cases, the placemats, pillows. Some of my older quilts have put on sale. Shelburne Falls is beautiful right now with new flowers on the Bridge every day. There are some wonderful  new shops--a great little Mexican restaurant near where my studio in exile was, the cream puff bakery and of course the kitchen store just down stream from me has its bargains. Riverfest is June 6--always a family day.

Most of the summer I will be in my studio working on these new quilts. When you are in town, I hope you will stop by to admire the view from my walkway and give me your impressions of my work. Of course do call first if you are coming from a distance. If Shelburne Falls is not in your plans, you can check out my latest work on Facebook  and I do have many of these quilts listed on my Etsy shop. http://www.etsy.com/shop/annbrauer

Have a great late spring. I look forward to seeing some of you either in person or on line.




Tuesday, April 7, 2015

I got it!!!

If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me "How long does it take to make a quilt?" I could probably retire. A good question. A fair question. But one that is so impossible to answer. For instance, there is a quilt I have been dreaming about for years. Maybe even decades. I will sketch it out during quiet times at craft shows. Play with the design in those early morning hours as I gradually awaken. Visit art museums and ponder how can I make it.

Now I know there are many methods of making quilts by now and some of them would allow me to create the design. However, with no offense to those who use these methods so successfully, they are not my methods. I don't fuse. I don't reverse applique. I don't paper piece. All of these methods would work--and there are many other methods that might also work. But they are not MY method.

So I continued to ponder and dream until finally it hit me. Yes, this just might work. I knew the colors. The concept. I could see a couple of tricks that might help. It has been a long cold spring. Shelburne Falls has been quiet. I might as well try.

quilt--Ann Brauer 2015

Nice colors. Although this is taking forever.

quilt--Ann Brauer--2015


Yes, this is finicky.

quilt--Ann Brauer--2015
Is it even going to work? Should I continue or put it in the UFO pile? I sleep on it.

quilt--2015--Ann Brauer




It only works from a distance.  I peer in through my window. Yes, my neighbors shake their heads and wonder.

quilt--Ann Brauer--2015

How many breaks can I take? When will I finish?

quilt--Ann Brauer--2015


Still so much to do. So many questions to answer. Can I keep the colors the same on the bottom? It was the end of the day and I was impatient--probably not my best idea. Sigh.

quilt--Ann Brauer--2015



So much more to do. So many more questions to answer. So many problems to solve. But the reward was showing the image to my DH and having him say "Wow". 

What do you think? How do you begin a new project? How long does it take? And what is next?




Monday, April 6, 2015

the quilts of Ann Brauer--finally April



Finally spring is coming. The snow is actually melting. The maple sugar taps are in place and The Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls is open--and even has a few crocii in bloom. (Don't you just love that word even if spell-check doesn't?) After this winter I can hardly wait--although they say a long cold spring will help the maple sugar producers which of course is great.

I am spending my first spring in my new studio and it is so wonderful. The building is high enough I can catch glimpses of the last little ice chunks float down the river. There is a pair of ducks that swim around--I must get a bird book and figure out what kind they are. And yes, I am actually getting work done also.

I am absolutely loving my new flame series with its intense curves and dramatic colors. Each quilt just leads me on to the next one. Of course there is "summer skies". Bright and cheerful. Great colors aren't they?

summer skies--38x42"--Ann Brauer--photo by John Polak
But what if I work in the more complex colors? Maybe add some intense quilting after I piece it. The substance is amazing. This one I call "stormy coast". This is just a snapshot--too new to have been to my photographer yet.

stormy coast--42 x 38"--Ann Brauer
detail of stormy coast--Ann Brauer

Every day when I work on them I come home exhausted.  There are some long hangings perfect for a table runner or staircase. A few shorter quilts for that special place. The sewing is intense and slow as I try to get the swirls and colors just right with lots of motion.  I so love the feeling when I get inspired with so many possibilities. It makes going to work fun.

I will be showing these quilts at a brand new craft show The Art of American Craft Museum Series April 24, 25 and 26 at the XL Center in Hartford, CT. There are lots of amazing artist there--just check out the list to see for yourself. The show is a benefit for the Costume & Textile Society of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.  Yes, this should have some amazing work here. For more information  www.AmericanFineCraftShow.com

When I am not doing this show I am usually working in my studio although do call first if you are coming from a distance. Yes, Lamson and Goodnow's shop (the kitchen store)  remains open just down stream from me and the Salmon Falls Artisan Showroom is now open most days. And I am trying to list more items on my Etsy shop for those who can't make it to Shelburne Falls. I have lots of eyeglass cases and table runners there as well as the wall hangings. In my "spare" time I am trying to find some old favorites to put on clearance. For more info: http://www.etsy.com/shop/annbrauer

Enough for now. I hope your spring brings lots of flowers and sunshine. I look forward to seeing some of you in person or through the internet.

Thanks for reading.





Friday, March 6, 2015

Make Room video

I just received a link to the video that the American Craft Council did of the Make Room exhibit at the Baltimore Craft Show. Yes, that is my quilt--river of green--included in the Water section. I do hope you enjoy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEGIxfqmqJc&feature=youtu.be

river of green--38x38"--Ann Brauer 2015

Thursday, February 26, 2015

it is what it is..

Ah Baltimore. The grand behometh of shows. The show where dreams come and go. The place of so much hope and anticipation for here is the possibility of magic. Some shows have been for me amazing. The year the couple could not decide which quilt to purchase and bought both. That was sweet. The year I couldn't wrap orders fast enough--I thought I might sell out. That was sweet. The year I received one of their awards--they only give out a few each year. Oh, that was indeed sweet.

Of course I forget the year of the blizzard. The city was almost shut down. An interesting adventure. Or the year I was tucked off in never never land. A break even year. The year of the first Gulf War. Sure people came and numbly walked the aisles. Not a year to remember though--the customers just wanted to forget the War.

As I get ready every winter, I try not to remember the more painful years. After all, this is my chance to get inspired. To make a statement. To see how my work measures up to the best of the best (and all the rest.) Don't you just love that rhyme?

I envision my booth. Plan it in my mind's eye again and again. What pieces do I need to make a statement--as strong as the other booths around me. I dream of the public being amazed by my work--why shouldn't they be? But even if they are not, I know this is just the start of the year. There is so much to learn--so much tweaking to do. So many questions to ask. This is not about me but about them. I am asking them to spend their money. To live with my work in their home. It is a privilege to respond to their questions. To listen. I am humble by the experience.

I love how light and airy my booth looks. The new flame series seeming to stretch toward the sky. I love the colors. The dance of the the flames. Doesn't it look good?



Baltimore booth--Ann Brauer


Well perhaps not as good as it looks in the studio. The studio is gorgeous and complete. The walls are real and clean. I do not need to have all the soft walls and light stands. I don't need to push everything together. There is a place at the studio and everything is in its space. That was the first warning.

The second was the little mumblings I heard in the distance. The ones where people whispered--this is work that is in transition--as though this was a bad thing. Maybe it was. Now I did want to show even more flames but there were just too many snow storms. Too many distractions. That I will give myself a pass on--I tried. I aim to stretch my work every year. That I think is a plus. I don't want my work to be static. I will give myself a pass there also. Although I could have presented the whole better. I push my work and sometimes it takes a while for me to find the whole amid the possible. Yes, I could have done better in retrospect--why do I always have more to learn? Sigh.

The third was not me. A snow storm. On Saturday. Normally the best day of the show. And Sunday was just Sunday. Those who had to see everything. I give myself a pass here--the weather is out of my control.

Still there was something to learn. Something I can do better for my next show. Paradise City Marlborough in March. My customers told me repeatedly that they wanted quilts that were five feet long instead of 80 inches. Eighty inches is too long for all but the largest tables. While I love the larger hangings, most walls are only 8 feet tall and so there is not enough room to hang a quilt that is 80 inches long.

That is a good idea.  So I start my first wall hanging. Grey just like the one that I sold but not quite as long. This one will have gentler colors just because.  I can make a couple for Paradise.

Flame wall hanging--Ann Brauer

I start with the colors and outline. Add more colors. I want it to work either as a table runner or a wall hanging. Practice is always fun.

Grey flame--Ann Brauer

And keep adding, one row at a time, the colors slightly different from the one I sold but such a good color. I need to make a couple more so I can make them in the colors people want. Enough so I can make custom orders in the color people need for their home. Yes, I wanted to make more anyway.

As for the booth--yes, I want to improve the booth but first I want to make more wall hangings. See what will happen. After all the best way to not have my work look transitional is to make more pieces so customers can feel reassured I can make a quilt just for them.

And you, do you find you learn something new every time you do a show or finish a new piece of art? What are your lessons? How do you make new work but still stay consistent with the market?