Monday, July 21, 2014

the mission

The mission--which I chose to accept--is to create a special quilt for the office of a client of mine. They loved this quilt--rivers of green. Just the right size and shape. Just the right amount of motion. But are the colors ones that work for them? Is it too "cold" for their space?

river of green--36x36"--Ann Brauer 2014

After all, it is a quilt that will be in the office of the administrator. She will be looking at it every day. The clients will be coming in and associating this quilt with the office. It must be just right. They send me the colors of the office and a link to their web site. So helpful. This is a custom order so I should get a feeling for the space.

I suggest that since they use the concept of an olive branch in their work, maybe the quilt should reflect an olive branch. Great idea. But they can't quite visualize it. Can I send some colors? Sure.

What is the color of a black olive? Look at it. Sort of a combination of reds and purples, browns. How to add just the right amount of sparkle to the olive? There wasn't a good fabric I could find that was just "olive". I add snippets of fabrics to give them an idea.

Ann Brauer

Then I start to worry. (I do that a lot with a custom order anyway.) Are these the right colors? Even if they are--will the customer be able to visualize that this will really result in an "olive" river?

Well, there is only one good way to test it. So I decide to start.

Ann Brauer

 Is this too busy? How do the colors work? Again I know the quilt will change as it grows.

Ann Brauer
 Yes, I do like how the colors are beginning to flow.

Is blue the right color to surround the quilt? Again I am not sure. There is blue in the office. Well, I might as well make it. This quilt is not for them anyway. But for me. Certainly these are colors that will sell. And I do need lots of quilts. Next month I am doing the Berkshire Craft Show at Monument Mountain High School August 8-10 and then the American Craft Exposition in Evanston August 22-24. Yes, I will be busy.

Ann Brauer

And now I wonder. What if I used a lighter tan to surround the quilt? How would that look? Or maybe switched up the colors all together. So many possibilities. What if the olive were more purple and the outside more beige? How would that look? Don't you love how one quilt can inspire others? Does this happen to you? And what will the clients think?

For those in the area, do check out the Berkshire Craft Show--now in its 41st year.  and the American Craft Exposition at Hope to see some of you there.

Monday, July 7, 2014

the wind up

OK-- by now--as you just might already know--I moved into a new studio. Yeah!!! Friends told me my work looks absolutely fabulous. Never have they seen it look so good.

September fields--quilt--Ann Brauer--2014

And sure enough, within days, my big quilt--September fields--is headed for its new home. Yeah!!! Again.

But that means that I need to make another new quilt. After all, I am doing the Berkshire Craft Show August 8-10 in Great Barrington, MA. Should I cheer again? And then The American Craft Exposition in Evanston Augut 22-24. Yikes, what was I thinking.

Well, there is no time to think. I have to start--NOW. But what to make. Truth be told, I am not always feeling creative. Especially not when I am building a new studio. (Not that that is something I do often--but lots of my energy goes to deciding what color the door should be, what about the color of the tile in the rental unit upstairs. And how can I promote the new studio?) You get the gist.

But I can't hold a pity party. I must dig deep and think quickly. I know I want the quilt to have lots of color in it. I do after all have a black and grey quilt--winter light--which is fabulous. So I want something different and joyous.

winter light--99x99"--Ann Brauer--2013--quilt

I look around me. This is a quilt I made as a test for a large quilt that never happened. Yes, I love the sweep of the colors. So rich and wonderful.

quilt by Ann Brauer

But is it too "country"? Too much design in the fabric? I wonder.

Maybe it would look more "modern" if I had thin stripes running through it.  Yes, these quilts have names and better pictures. But this is how I was thinking. Put them up in the studio. Stand back. Think and ponder.

quilt by Ann Brauer

I love the sweep of the colors. But while the white looks fantastic in this smaller quilt, would it be too busy in a large quilt?  I try to visualize it.

Maybe dark would look better? More like September fields. Hmmm.

quilt by Ann Brauer

Well, it is time to make what I know. I can't fret about the new quilt too long. Fretting after all takes up time and energy. So I start. One long thin strip of yellow.

quilt by Ann Brauer

Now it looks like I am getting somewhere, doesn't it?

I organize and play with the next row. Arrange and re-arrange the colors. How quickly do I want the progression to happen? What will it look like when the quilt is done. After all, this quilt will be BIG.

quilt by Ann Brauer

Time to start. These seams are long.

quilt by Ann Brauer

Nice colors though aren't they? Now it seems like I am getting some place. If only I can continue. One row at a time. 

And you--how do you start a big quilt? Do you find the wind up to be the hardest part? Do you just jump in? Do you go back to what you have made before to find inspiration? Is this a trick for keeping your style consistent?

And most importantly, how will I get it done before those two craft shows?  Will it take on a life of its own? Can I just keep going?

For more information about the Berkshire Craft Show at Monument Mountain High School in Great Barrington now in its 41st year.   www.berkshirecraftsfair.or
And the American Craft Exposition at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.