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?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Just got to have fun!!

Sometimes it seems I make a quilt for a purpose. It is perhaps an order--or it will look good in my booth--or tis the season--or....  And sometimes I make a quilt just because I want to have fun!! That's been happening a lot recently.

You see I got inspired to test some machine quilting on top of the quilt just to see what happens. And I discovered if I choose the fabric carefully it adds to the quilt rather than making it feel confined. (Harsh words but that can happen, if you know what I mean.) Well one quilt led to another. And then I started mixing and matching.

But rather than telling you about it--let me show you some of the experiments.

field of first growth--12x40 inches--Ann Brauer 2014

Now one of the great things about these pieces if they can be used separately. Perhaps as a wall hanging for that long narrow spot.

harvest field--12x40"--Ann Brauer
Perhaps as a table runner.

field of teal--12x40"--Ann Brauer

But then they can also be used in arrangements. Think of that space over the sofa. And yes I just pinned these in place--they can be hung more formally is you wish.

three fields--Ann Brauer

Or going up the staircase:

three--Ann Brauer

Stagger this combination:

three--Ann Brauer

And then rotate it--why not?

three--Ann Brauer

Or maybe the colors should be switched again:

three--Ann Brauer

Notice the effect of the slightly darker yellow and the addition of the purple or plum. Oh I could pin them up forever and take their snapshots. But I have work to do. Each piece leads me to want so many more to play with. Isn't that why people love to shop from artists anyway--to get inspired and play with design.  I want to make all the colors of the rainbow. Maybe a green with just a tad more olive. Or another brown. Don't really have anything in the blue family yet. And the red family?

How many can I finish before the Paradise City Arts Festival March 21-23? Which ones will sell?  Will the public even enjoy playing with them as much as I do?  And if they sell at Paradise will I also have some for the Philadelphia Furniture Show April 4-6?

What do you think? Which ones are your favorites?

For more information on the Paradise City Arts Festival:
The Philadelphia Invitational Furniture Show:

And my Etsy shop has some under either wall hangings or table runners--check both places as I couldn't figure out where best to list them.

Monday, March 3, 2014

the quilts of Ann Brauer--is it a lion, a lamb or a snow leopard?

Dear all,

OK--it seems to me the big question is whether March came in like a lion or a lamb. After all, the first day of March warmed up here from the chilly teens to an almost balmy 32. And yesterday even hit above freezing. Only to plummet down to minus 7 tonight. Yes, I am ready for spring. Aren't we all?

That of course does not prevent me from working hard in my studio. After a good Baltimore Show I quickly got back to work and got inspired to create even more new pieces for the Paradise City Arts Festival in Marlborough, MA this March 21-23. For those who haven't been to this show, it is truly the beginning of spring for me. There is great music, fun art, and even places to sit and eat a light lunch as you figure out just what you want to see again. One of my favorite aspects of this show is that there is work that lust after and also work that I can afford. Anyhow, I am Booth 133. For more info and to get $2 off your ticket, visit

One of my favorite new series includes these "field" strips. Are they table runners or wall hangings? Do you want to mix and match? Don't you just love the colors. If you look carefully, you will see that I have quilted on the top of the design too which creates a truly awesome texture. I am sewing looped tape on the top and bottom so you can create your own arrangement. Or just throw one across your table to create the feeling of spring. What do you think?
fields--12x40 inches--Ann Brauer

Meanwhile in my search for green--I am going to put my quilt "hidden lake" on sale as the Quilt of the Month. I do love this piece. I made it after hiking in the White Mountains with my DH a couple summers ago. Every time the trail would get just a bit tough and I wondered about going on, I would catch a glimpse of the hidden lake we were hiking too. This quilt is just off square--it is 45 inches wide and 43 inches long. After I finished it I realized this and that there was nothing I wanted to add to make it square so that is how it it. Normally the quilt sells for $1200 but for the next 10 days or until sold it will be $675 plus shipping and any applicable taxes. To be the first, either contact me directly or purchase it on Etsy.
hidden lake--43x45 inches--quilt--Ann Brauer

When I am not doing the show, I will be at my studio at 6 Bridge Street (weather permitting.) I also do continue to list work on my Etsy shop:

Next month I will be at the Philadelphia Invitational Furniture Show April 4-6. I will have some half price admission tickets for that show, so please e-mail me if you would like to receive one.

Thanks so much for reading.