Thursday, March 27, 2014

When to hold them...

One of the reasons I love doing craft shows is because I can find out how people react to my latest quilts. Sure I don't make quilts just to please the public--puleeze. But let's face it, I need to sell my quilts if I am going to continue making them. And I am only going to enjoy making them if I make the quilts that I want to make. That is the conundrum.

So it was with great anticipation that I brought my latest work to the recent Paradise City Arts Festival. Those who follow me on Facebook--and a bit on this blog--will know that I  have been trying to make my work more abstract. To take it to another level. And after the Baltimore Craft Show that I knew I had to try to add over-quilting on some of my quilts. Now this is not as easy as it sounds. Some of the fabrics look too "country" if I dare say that when they are over-quilted. In other cases there were subtle variations in the colors that stood out in the simple designs in ways that just did not work. And of course there were the technical issues. But I worked hard.

I called the new pieces "fields" and saw them as both wonderful table runners and as wall hangings--either individually or in arrangements.
field of green--12x40"--Ann Brauer
Wouldn't they look wonderful staggered going up a stair case?

3 fields--each 12x40"--Ann Brauer
Or maybe a few over the sofa.

3 fields--each 12x40"--Ann Brauer
Oh I had fun making them. Even sold one out of the studio as I was working on the designs. I was optimistic--which I guess one has to be in this business.

Until I got to the craft show. Now don't get me wrong--it was not that people did not like them. So many crafts people came up to me and commented so positively on the new work. And their praise means a lot to me. After all, these are the most knowledgeable artists who have been following my work for more years than I dare to count.

But did I sell any of them? Nope. Yes there were some people who just had to go home and measure. Others wanted colors I did not have--browns and tans. Reds.  And there is the price issue. You see I had been making another table runner that I sold for less. But I have made too many of them. They are not part of the direction that interests me. And I really should raise their price a lot to justify making them.
river runner--12x40"--Ann Brauer

So what to do? I have one more craft show left in this series. It would be really nice to sell a lot of work at this show since this is my last fair for several months. You must know the problem. I spent the first couple days after the show filling orders. Nothing wrong with that. But then there was the question--should I make the older style that I know sells but doesn't interest me as much? Or do I have the energy to continue pushing myself to make a couple more pieces in the new work. Would that be a waste of time.

I spoke with another craft person about it as the fair ended. One of those people who has been doing shows forever. A person whose work I respect. He reminded me that it does take people at least a year to decide they want the new work. After all, my public has been looking at the older pieces for years--this is what they dream about for their home. But then he said, there will be a new audience that wants these quilts. I mulled this over. Still unsure what to do.

Until I opened up my e-mail. Yes, another of my minimalist wall hangings was included in a Treasury on Etsy. Now Treasuries on Etsy are fun--you get to curate a list of 16 items around a theme of your choice. Sure there is a particular look to these Treasuries. But it is a an interesting way to see your work in a larger setting. Looks good doesn't it?

And I thought about my next craft show. It is the Philadelphia Invitational Furnishings Show. A show I have done years ago--it is still going on and I decided it would be fun to try it again. After all, furniture shows do bring in a knowledgeable and qualified public. It would count as my "new" show for the year--I always try to do at least one new show each year to expand my market. And wouldn't these furniture buyers want nice simple table runners for their new tables? For more information:  For your half price invite--just scroll down to the bottom of this post.

Worth a try. So I organized fabrics in browns--a nice color for all the amazing furniture I know I will see at the show. And started to sew. Yes, these are designs that I still think of as keepers. And in writing this blog I realized I do need to add these fields to my web site. That should be easy.

So how do you decide when to keep making a new design? How do you change your look? And when do you call it quits?

1 comment:

  1. I'm not an expert in your quilt world, but I think you should make what is in your heart to make. And it seems these older pieces are no longer in your heart to make!