Sunday, September 29, 2013

the riot of dahlias

OK I confess that my daylilies have been magnificent this year. But alas. The season is almost over. Sure there are a few still blooming bravely in the garden. Their foliage that wonderful green mixed with yellows and browns. What a welcome sight they are.

But still I felt the need for an intense deep burst of color and fullness that I was missing. So it was time to get my coffee and walk across the Bridge of Flowers. You see I am one spoiled color junkie. The Bridge of Flowers in beautiful Shelburne Falls is right in back of my studio. I can walk across it any day I want.

This time it was the dahlias that caught my eye. So many great colors and designs all standing so proudly in the sun. Yes, I could go on and on about the joys of each one. I could stop and take careful pictures to capture their glory and maybe I will. Tomorrow.

For now though I just need to revel in their splendor.

And you--do you grow dahlias? Do you look forward to them every year? What are you favorite ones? And have you made it to the Bridge of Flowers yet this year?

Monday, September 16, 2013

the last row

I don't know if this ever happens to you but sometimes it just seems too good to be true. The quilt almost pieced itself.  I was on such a roll I did not even stop to move the purses hanging on my design board. This was fun--the way it is supposed to be. Not bad huh?

But then I realized that the key to the whole quilt was the last row. At the top. This is what would make the quilt sing if it is done right. Or it would relegate the quilt to just another color study. Oh--what to do?

I take some time away from the quilt. Get out my fabrics. And start to play. I want a hint of light to counteract the dark purples. Enough purple. Isn't the quilt intense enough as it is. I pull out a few fabrics--not the ones I thought I would use but maybe they would work. Let me try.

Hard to tell from just one block isn't? Yeap--time to drink some coffee. Finish a few other projects in the studio. Should I clean for a while? Then I make another block. Still can't tell, can you?

I mean it is definitely not bad. But is it the answer? Well, sometimes the only way out is through. So I summon the courage and start piecing. Trying to remember to add light and blue to the quilt. Enough purples to make it fit in. Just a bit of the unexpected. And yes I still don't move the purses. In fact I am sufficiently focused I don't notice them until I snap the image. Not bad, huh.

And now to sew it together. Yes, it will look different. More polished. More controlled. But I want it in my booth for the Paradise City Arts Festival this October12-14. And I do want to study it some more--see what it is I can learn from this quilt? Where it will lead me next?

Does this ever happen to you? What do you think?

Friday, September 13, 2013

mixing it up

I don't know if this has ever happened to you, but recently when I walked into one of my favorite quilt stores--A Notion to Quilt in Shelburne, MA--I was thinking of certain colors that I knew I needed. Then a fabric popped up and seemed to say, "Take me. Please."

I look at it. It really doesn't look like fabrics I usually buy but there was just something about it. So many possibilities. I have been into greys recently. OK--I had to try it.

And why not this one too. It was too fun.

Oh I do like to shop.

And some fabrics to co-ordinate. Enough though that the staff--who does know my quilts--mentioned that the stack did not look like me. How true. How exciting.

Luckily though this is the time I need potholders. I do have the Paradise City Arts Festival in Northampton in October. The holidays are coming and kitchens do deserve art. After all not everyone can afford a large quilt--and certainly not all the time. Plus making a potholder will let me experiment with the fabric. What can it do? What can I do with it? A win win. Not bad huh?

potholder--quilt--Ann Brauer

And a co-ordinate.

potholder--quilt--Ann Brauer

They do go together. And what about an eyeglass case or two. Another good way for me to experiment.

eyeglass case--quilt--Ann Brauer
Can you find one of the fabrics? And another colorway as my confidence rises.Yes, it took forever to choose the colors for this one and I did worry if the chartreuse would be too much but as I told myself, these are eyeglass cases and I needed to try it. It works though, doesn't it?

eyeglass case--quilt--Ann Brauer

Oh this is too much fun. I could spend hours playing with these fabrics. Though after a while I confess that making smaller items gets to be a bit much and it just may be time to start a larger quilt. Hmm--could this be the inspiration? How many of the new fabrics can I use?

And you--do you ever buy fabrics just to play with them? Which ones are your favorites? How do you learn what the fabrics can do?

Monday, September 2, 2013

the quilts of Ann Brauer--September song

Yes, amazing it is September already. August just flew by as I did not one but two wonderful craft shows. So many people I met. So nice to see such a positive reaction to my new work. And now I have month to fill orders and get ready for the busy season ahead. And of course I have to find room in my garden for just a few more daylilies that I just had to order--I did try to contain myself though--really.

Anyhow enough chit chat for now. The BIG news is that progress is being made on my new studio almost every single day. As I noted in an article in The Recorder, I can stand at my counter at 6 Bridge Street and watch them pour concrete for 2 Conway Street and I confess I do that probably a little too much during the course of the day. The new building has a wonderful very solid foundation which will be raised far above ground level. In addition the two entrances into the new building will have a flood barrier that I can insert if a weather event warrants. There will also be a coating on the first couple feet of the new building which is water proof. (My architect does know his stuff.) For those who want to follow the progress more, I  post often on and will try to write more often on my blog about it.

Meanwhile I will be in the studio most days in September making work for my next show which is the Paradise City Arts Festival at the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton October 12-14. This is a glorious show with good food and great live music as well as some of the best fine craft and art around. Columbus Day is late this year so the colors should be fabulous as well. Shelburne Falls will be holding another ArtWalk on September 14 from 4-8 pm and of course I will be open all day. Just another excuse to visit the Falls in the 'tween season and see how lovely the Bridge of Flowers is. Later in the year I will be doing the Washington Craft Show and CraftBoston.

And now for the Quilt of the Month. This time I decided to sell my quilt--spring garden.

spring garden--90x90"--quilt--Ann Brauer

This was a groundbreaking quilt for me when I made it back in 2000. Its sister is in the collection of the American Museum of Art + Design down in the Big Apple. This quilt was recently returned to me from a gallery where it was displayed for a number of years. I had initially considered keeping it as  part of my personal collection but, as I reminded myself when I listed it on Etsy, I am building a new studio. Anyhow, if you are interested you can find it on my Etsy shop at  Do note that the quilt does have a bit of a ripple when it hangs although I will gladly sew another strip of Velcro onto the bottom should you wish.  While on my Etsy show you can also see that I am trying to add more eyeglass cases to the shop to replenish those that sell. And I am wondering if I should post a few placemats and potholders on the site--what do you think?

OK--this is a long newsletter. I hope to see some of you in my studio this month or on the web so to speak. As always enjoy the season.

Thanks so much for reading.