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?



Sunday, February 8, 2015

the quilts of Ann Brauer--it's sNOwing again

Dear all,

Yikes. It is almost time for the Baltimore Fine Craft Show. February 20-22 at the Baltimore Convention Center. I am Booth 1207.

I have been working so hard getting ready. I got inspired to make a new series. Are they flames? Spires of hope? Rivers. I am not sure. I just know that I love them. This is a snapshot of the largest of the quilts. Don't you love how the colors just dance together? The quilt itself is about nine feet long.



quilt--Ann Brauer

Then there is this more controlled quilt--I am not sure if that is the right word--rhubarb fire.
rhubarb fire--40x40"--quilt--Ann Brauer
And the long blue flame. Not the best of my images but it is 80 inches long and can also be hung vertically. Wouldn't it look great over a bed?

quilt--Ann Brauer--13x80"




Well, there are several more quilts in this series. I am taking them all down to my photographer this Tuesday--weather permitting--and will have them at my Booth in Baltimore. Speaking of Baltimore, if you go to their web site you can pre-purchase tickets at a slight savings.  Friday evening between 5 and 8 tickets are only $5 for those who want to just a hint of the show. And while you are there, do check out the Made Room installations. My quilt --river of green--will be prominently displayed there. For those who want a blast from the past, the CERF+ Booth will have some images of my destroyed studio. They were so helpful after Tropical Storm Irene. For more information on the Baltimore Show:
http://shows.craftcouncil.org/baltimore

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


Meanwhile, if you can't make it to the show, I have been posting more quilts and other items on my Etsy site. http://www.etsy.com/shop/annbrauer  In March I will be at the Paradise City Arts Festival in Marlborough, Massachusetts March 20-22. Do check their web site for discount tickets and more information. http://www.paradisecityarts.com

Well, enough for now. I hope you all manage to stay dry and safe. I will put the images of my new quilts on my web site as soon as I get them back.

Thanks.




Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The fire within


Finally I have a chance to do a bit of new work for Baltimore. For those who have been following my work, this year I do have a quilt--river of green--in one of the special displays in the show. Yes, it even made the magazine. How sweet is that?

river of green--38x38"--Ann Brauer--photo by John Polak


So I wanted to make a few more quilts based on this flowing river. Of course I needed a large quilt. This one is tall--about 9 feet tall to be precise.


blue fire--Ann Brauer 2015

blue fire--Ann Brauer 2015

Then a bit of repetition. Aren't they wonderful?



purple fire--quilt--Ann Brauer


More games.  This one can go either vertically or horizontally.
long hanging--13x80"--Ann Brauer

Or horizontally.

long hanging--13x80"--Ann Brauer



But do I have to limit myself to these colors? Instead I decide I must try red with a hint of chartreuse. I start.
red fire--quilt--Ann Brauer


Don't you love that initial curve? What will happen?

red fire--quilt--Ann Brauer


It grows.

red fire--quilt--Ann Brauer


And grows.

red fire--quilt--Ann Brauer


Now what shall I do? Don't you just love how this quilt gives me inspiration for so many other possibilities? Oh I have so many quilts to make. So little time. Baltimore is February 20-22. I am Booth 1207. For more information, do check out their web site
http://shows.craftcouncil.org/baltimore where you can purchase discounted tickets.