Wednesday, May 31, 2017

sweet--day 9

Checking my e-mail is always exciting. Usually it is the same old same old so to speak. But occasionally I get one of those lovely surprises.

When I make a quilt I do believe that it has a home--and it is just a natter of waiting until the quilt and its home find each other. This was certainly true of my quilt--sunrise.

I loved the simple but complex colors of the sun rising above the water. There was a wonderful graphic design to the piece. When I was making it, I had to concentrate to get the two sides to be similar but have enough difference that the quilt had a life to it.

At 30x80 inches it could look fabulous over a king size bed or a large sofa. It could be an accent on a hallway. However, the size made it more difficult to show at a craft fair as it would dominate the wall but leave a lot of unused space around it. It looked great when I hung it in my studio but again it commanded a large wall. So I waited.

Until this week-end when I got the e-mail. Ta da. My theory is proven true again. Soon the quilt will be in a new home although I confess I will miss its presence. Don't you love the light dancing on the water? And the reflections of the sun in the sky?  Isn't it a happy quilt?

sunrise--quilt--30x80 inches--Ann Brauer--photo by John Polak

Thanks Etsy. I do love opening my mail. To see more of my quilts and check out my Etsy shop

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

what an honor--day 8

One of my proudest moments was when I received a call from a woman who had purchased one of my large quilts over 30 years ago. She had only a small glimpse of it in hanging in their living room in a picture of a gathering she had held but still I recognized it as mine from the days I did color studies of log cabins.

The customer told me she cried when she realized that the old familiar quilt was removed. But it was time to redecorate and they wanted me to make a new quilt for the updated space. Stop for a moment and think about that--after living with my quilt for 30 years and it was a large piece--they trusted me to make a new quilt to fill the space and give them the same sense of joy and home.

prairie sunrise--quilt--Ann Brauer 2016

It does look good there, doesn't it? Don't you love the modern but friendly feeling of this quilt with the red in the sky echoing the red in the rug?  Doesn't the room look like it will host many more gatherings for the next 30 years? What do you think?

Monday, May 29, 2017

what's it all about--day 7

Sometimes I just want to make a fun happy quilt that tells a story. Is this quilt about relationships? Two "suns" in a joyous meadow? Are these two flowers in spring? Is this the lost planetary system with two suns and its own earth? Is it two views of the same "sun"? Does it even matter? What do you think?

two sun--quilt--ann brauer 2016--photo by John Polak

Sunday, May 28, 2017

the stars at night--day 6

Looking up at the stars there are so many stories. Places one could go. Entries into the unknown. Such mysteries. I am fascinated by them.

I remember once when I was visiting my parents after having lived in the East for a number of years. I went for a walk in their fields at night and felt I might fall off into the sky.  Probably not that unusual a feeling but by then I was so used to trees and hills holding me in place. Grounding me (pun intended.)

night sky--45x45 in--ann brauer

Saturday, May 27, 2017

but what is it all about?--day5

Sometimes I make a quilt just because. Just because I am curious about what it will look like. Just because I think it tells a story although I am not sure what the story will be. Just because there is a feeling that I can only capture by creating this quilt.

Does this ever happen to you? Does this help you find the story?

That is why I made this quilt--"above the desert". I loved the idea of floating above the desert letting go and just being. I think of it as creating a calm and serene place although a friend of mine whose artistic sense I trust found it to be a bit troubling.

What do you think? What stories does this tell?

above the desert--27x61"--By Ann Brauer 2016--photo by John Polak

detail--above the desert--Ann Brauer 2016--photo by John Polak

Friday, May 26, 2017

somewhere over the rainbow--day 4

One of the many reasons I had for rebuilding my studio after it floated was that the site along the Deerfield River has the best rainbows in town. Rainbows by their very nature are spectacular, aren't they? And seeing a rainbow with the water and the back drop of the mountain is even more spectacular.

Need I say more.

rainbows of summer--96x96 in--copyright Ann Brauer--photo by John Polak

Thursday, May 25, 2017

don't stop thinking about tomorrow--day 3

Yesterday I got to accept the shows I will do for the rest of the year. And what great shows they will be. Sure--I didn't get into everything I wanted.  Rejection hurts but it happens. I knew it might so I applied to several shows that I also wanted to do. They can reject me but they can't keep me down. Always have Plan B. Don't stop thinking about tomorrow.

For those who wonder how I choose, I try for a mix of some shows that I have done before where the audience anticipates that I will be there, some "new" shows or at least shows which I haven't done for a long time but where I do have an audience and shows where I can expand my market by introducing my quilts to people who may not have seen them before.  Of course I consider where the shows are, the ease of doing them, the mix of artists.

My first show will be the Berkshire Craft Show at Monument Mountain High School in Great Barrington August 11-13. This is the sweetest show that has been going on for 44 years run by  teachers for the benefit of students. Sure the booths are small and spread out but there are some wonderful craft artists who participate and a dedicated following of locals and people who are in The Berkshires to go to Tanglewood and all the other wonderful cultural activities. I have done it for a number of years since it so easy and friendly and I get to sleep at home !!! Check out their web site--you will be amazed at the quality of the work in this show.

Later I will tell you about the other shows and even get them posted on my web site.

For now though it is time to close with an image of my quilt--one fine day.

one fine day--quilt--ann brauer 2017

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

36 years and still standing--prairie scene

I was lucky enough to grow up on a farm in Illinois. One of those wonderful magical places that one often only read about. Although the farm was along a river which gave us a few rolling hills, there were also long views of the distant sky. Would the bands of rain we could see in the west fall where we needed them? Would the sun break through the clouds before it set?

Normally we stored the hay and straw in the loft in the barn but one year for some reason my dad baled it and stacked the bales just west of the barn.

I can remember as a child scaling to the top of this pile and sitting there with the best view around just looking at the horizon and dreaming of what lay beyond.

prairie scene--quilt--ann brauer 2017--photo by John Polak

Do you have a memory of a place that you return to try to capture in all its aspects?  What do you think?

Day 2 of my 36 Day challenge.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

36 and still standing

I was writing a proposal for a talk I am going to give next year to a lovely quilt group when it hit me--I really and truly have been in business for 36 years come this July 1. Thirty six years!!! That is a long time. And guess what--I still love what I do!!!

Most mornings I wake up and can't wait to get to the studio. I still have so many ideas of quilts I want to make. I remember in one of Anne Truitt's books she said her problem was not how to get inspired but how to choose which direction she wanted to go. I often feel like that. It is so unfair that my quilts take longer to make than my ideas take to form--does that happen to you?

Anyhow I decided I should celebrate being in business for 36 years--maybe a party. Although that is work.  Maybe a sale. Stay tuned. But also what about 36 blog posts. Short notes on whatever strikes me. I haven't written as much as I might like in the last few years but 36 years is a time for dancing. Strutting my stuff. Celebrating. Don't you think?

So this is my first post. And I will end it with an image of my quilt "green circle" that I still love so much I chose it for the new banner I am making for my studio. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile life is a celebration regardless of what they say. So do give me more ideas of topics to write about. And if you are in Shelburne Falls my studio is open most days so drop by and say hi.

green circle--quilt--ann brauer--2015--photo by John Polak

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

pillows pillows pillows

Pillows--16x16 in--Ann Brauer

Think of pillows. Warm. Soft. Inviting. A quick way to redecorate a room. And for me--the maker--they are a fun way to experiment with color and design. After all, it is just a pillow. It doesn't have to always match.

I like having them in the studio--they make the space look more complete. They are one of those smaller items that a customer can choose. And they do sell. Sometimes one at a time. Sometimes a customer wants to redecorate and chooses several.

I don't always notice when my stock gets low. After all, if I don't have them, they won't sell. Earlier this year I noticed that I had very few left. I had shipped a bunch off for an order on Etsy. Another customer realized that they needed a couple for their office decor. Something to comfort the people waiting for their services.

Time to make more. But what would the design be this time? Would each one be unique? Or what about a matched series where they would all coordinate? I love that challenge. Each pillow leads me on to new colors. New discoveries. I could keep looking at what I have and wonder what more I needed. How addictive is that? 

Green first--that was what one customer wanted.

Green pillow--16x16 in--Ann Brauer

Then purple. People who like purple, LIKE PURPLE.

Purple pillow--16x16 in--Ann Brauer

Then there is blue. And blue. Don't you love how different the two blues are?

Blue pillow--16x16 in--Ann Brauer

French blue pillow--16x16 in--Ann Brauer

Rust to coordinate with the other colors.

Rust pillow--16x16 in--Ann Brauer

Brown always looks good against the blue, doesn't it?

Brown pillow--16x16 in--Ann Brauer

And then there is teal--how dreamy is this? Doesn't it go with almost everything?

Teal pillow--16x16 in--Ann Brauer

Oh there are so many more I want to make. I am working on a grey right now. Then I need a gold--that will be hard. Plum is obvious and fun. Then there is red--not too red. The lighter reds will be a challenge, I know but I can't wait. What other colors should I work on? How would you pair them up? What do you think? Do you ever work in series just because?