Tuesday, June 23, 2020

stormy coast--an old friend returns for a visit

Sometimes I get the chance of revisiting an older quilt which I had almost forgotten about. In this case, the quilt had been safely tucked away in a closet at a gallery. I had barely remembered it was there when I went looking for something else.

What fun it was to see it again almost like reuniting with a friend you haven't seen for quite some time. So much in common although your lives have also changed. Don't you love all the different colors and fabrics. The sweep of the ocean and the curves of the coast. It was fun to see how I had worked three separate panels together to tell a story. And of course it was fun to remember some of the fabrics which I had used up years ago.

stormy coast--quilt--Ann Brauer--2015--37 by 39 inches--photo by John Polak
One of the aspects of this quilt I had forgotten was that the quilt could be rotated for a different effect. This one almost looks like grasses coming into the sky doesn't it.

stormy coast--Ann Brauer--quilt--2015

And this orientation could be a gentle rain. I am not sure. What do you think?

stormy coast--quilt--Ann Brauer--2015

Here are a couple of details for those who are curious.

detail--stormy coast--Ann Brauer 2015
detail--stormy coast--Ann Brauer 2015
Would I make the same quilt again? Of course not. Even if I tried for the same effect, my knowledge of how to manipulate fabric and the effect of different patterns has changed. Of course I also don't have the same fabrics. Need I say more. But I still like this quilt and put it on my Etsy shop so maybe it can find a new home. http://www.etsy.com/shop/annbrauer

What do you think? Do you ever get a chance to contemplate older pieces and see if they still hold up.

Friday, June 19, 2020

the edge of autumn

In late summer, I love seeing how the greens darken in the woods and the light begins to take on that golden hue of September. What a magical time this is. My quilt "the edge of autumn" seeks to capture this journey into the change of the seasons. Of course it is part of my "thinking about tomorrow" series.

the edge of autumn--quilt--Ann Brauer 2020
Making it is basically very simple. First I design the basic outline of the quilt either on paper or in my mind. This is based on the concept of the quilt and the elements I want to portray. Then I begin sewing many thin strips of cotton fabric going through the cotton batting onto the back. I always tell myself to start with something I know.

detail--the edge of autumn--quilt--Ann Brauer 2020

Sounds simple doesn't it. The trick though is to get the colors just right. In this case I wanted a golden green hue and so I chose fabric that included that overall element. Don't you love that hint of sun peeking through the clouds? I also began adding just a hint of purple that will come later.

detail--the edge of autumn--quilt--Ann Brauer 2020

As you can see I am gradually making the shift to a darker palette. Still I incorporate hints of gold and yellow to break it up. Creating the quilt is simple but also not easy since I do have to balance the colors and fabrics. I don't want it to be too busy but I do want there to be life in the piece. Many fabrics are used only once or twice. Luckily I have a lot of fabrics and because this is what I do, I know what may be in my stash.

detail--the edge of tomorrow--quilt--Ann Brauer 2020

And gradually I go into the darker colors. Because these are commercially available fabrics I don't always have the  colors that I dream about. There are not that many browns with blues for instance. So I have to improvise. That is what color blending is all about. And no I don't use batiks--in case you were going to ask. While they are lovely, they have a stiffer texture and a different sheen so I don't find they blend as well although feel free to experiment.

So how do you start? My suggestion is to make something. Maybe a smaller quilt or even a pillow. Get to know the fabric and try. I often make potholders with a fabric that is new to me to understand all its tones and depth. After you have made one--or even as you are making one--pin it to your design board and see what you think. When you are done, look at it. Is it what you want? Did you find any surprises? What went right and what could you do better? Then make another. And another and another until you begin to teach yourself to create the colors you want.

See--I said the method is simple but the process is not easy. And most importantly, have fun!!!

I have more detailed images on my Etsy shop if you are curious or maybe you want to browse through the detailed images of other quilts I have made. http://www.etsy.com/shop/annbrauer

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

thinking about tomorrow

It all began with one quilt "ocean sunrise" and a decision I had made a few months ago to use it for an ad I was running. After all it was a cheerful calm quilt that made a statement and that would fit in so many locations. Indeed, even before the ad ran I had sold that quilt. OK--I could make other variations on the theme. Why not?

ocean sunrise--37 x 47 inches--ann brauer 2019

Then of course my life and the lives of everyone else got turned upside down by the pandemic. I was depressed and feeling lost for the first week or so. Should I make masks--there was a definite need for them but my sewing machine was not right for that project.) Should I make political quilts about the virus and deal with my fears that way?  Then as luck would have it, the promoters of the craft show where I had run the initial ad decided to use the internet to support their artists. (Thanks Paradise City.)

And soon I got a phone call from a wonderful woman who needed a bit of cheer. After some discussion I agreed to make her a smaller version of "ocean sunrise." What a relief it was to have a purpose. I called this quilt "thinking about tomorrow" to relay the optimism that we can indeed make it through this. At least that is my hope.

thinking about tomorrow--32x48 inches--ann brauer 2020

The ad also resulted in a customer needing "that evening in July." I was on a roll. A series was being born.

that evening in July--quilt--Ann Brauer--40 x 40 inches

Next was another custom order "one morning in June" to hang in a specific place among other lovely works of art. Don't you love the colors?

one morning in June--Ann Brauer 2020--quilt--30 x 40 inches

Oh so many designs danced through my head. All I could do was snag one from that nether space and start sewing. Most of them I made smaller so I could finish them more quickly. The object was to tell a story then move on to the next one. After all I had a purpose.

There was "the clouds will lift" about that break in the storm where there is just the hint of sun to give you that feeling of hope.

the clouds will left--24 x 40 inches--ann brauer 2020

"Anticipation" was a dance of light in the sky just before the sun--or is it the moon--rose. What fun I had playing with these shapes.

anticipation--ann brauer 2020--24 x 40 inches

"The promise of tomorrow" is just a happy quilt. Don't we all need to be happy sometimes.

the promise of tomorrow--24 x 40 inches--annbrauer 2020

And "summertime" is my most recently finished quilt. The one that tries to capture the warmth and comfort of the sky on that perfect day in summer.

summertime--30 x 40 inches--Ann Brauer 2020

A series was born. Indeed I know there is more to come as I am piecing the next quilt in the series which I think will be called "the edge of autumn"--but you will have to wait to see that one. What fun to see these quilts all together--too bad they take so long. And beyond that--there are so many more quilts I want to make so stay tuned. I usually post them on my Etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/shop and frequently add them to my Instagram posts. And now my studio is open--or should I say OPEN--if you happen to be in Shelburne Falls.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

memories of mist

I start a quilt thinking of the softness of the mist as it rises from the ocean. The calmness of the sky anchored by the firm shore. Don't you love the ripples in the prints of some of the fabric that add to the story of the quilt.

 A friend then sends me a quote from Albert Camus.

"The sky was green. I felt happy."

memories of mist--40 x 40 inches--quilt--Ann Brauer 2020
Doesn't the quilting add to the texture of these colors and fabric? The little starfish in the prints makes me smile.

detail--memories of mist--quilt--Ann Brauer

 And another view.

detail--memories of mist--quilt--Ann Brauer

Doesn't this add yet another layer of meaning to the quilt? I must contemplate it more as I prepare for the Baltimore Craft Show in February. How quickly it is coming. I am Booth F-6 to the left along the wall as you enter from Pratt Street.https://craftcouncil.org/shows/acc/american-craft-show-baltimore

To see more of my quilts you can also check out my website www.annbrauer.com or my Etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/annbrauer

Thursday, January 2, 2020

one morning in march

Some quilts come together so easily. At least I have no memory of the struggles I am sure I had getting the fabrics just right. Sure I had to think about the different pinks and magentas. Were they too bright? Too warm? How did they work against all the wonderful greys?

I knew I wanted to capture that time before the leaves bud out but when there is just the hint of spring. The days are getting longer. The sky is a bit warmer. The ground is beginning to reappear after its winter sleep. Spring will come. What fun I had playing with the colors and getting the overall statement. What do you think?

one day in march--40 x 40 inches--quilt by Ann Brauer 2019
And here are a couple of details of the quilt showing the hints of pink and yellow sky.

detail--one day in march--quilt by Ann Brauer 2019
detail--quilt by Ann Brauer 2019
I like it so much I have it hanging in my studio over some pillows so I can study it frequently.

one day in march--hung in my studio--Ann Brauer 2019
I am trying to get ready for the Baltimore Craft Show this February 21-23 at the Convention Center. So much to do. So little time. For more information on the show check out their web site: https://craftcouncil.org/shows/acc/american-craft-show-baltimore 

This quilt is also in my Etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/annbrauer

Thursday, August 15, 2019

one morning

It was a bright sunny day last spring when I knew I needed to celebrate the season. Sure it took me longer than a day to finish this quilt--of course. But I still remember the joy I felt when I made it. I call it "one morning in spring". Can you see why?

one morning in spring--30 x 40"--ann brauer 2019

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

dancing in the moonlight

As I was researching ideas for a custom order, I came across an image of this quilt and had to share it. I called it "dancing in the moonlight" and loved all the grasses swaying in the wind with the moon peaking through. At least that's my story. What's yours?

dancing in the moonlight--40x40 inches--quilt by Ann Brauer--image by John Polak