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.