Tuesday, September 30, 2014

the quilts of Ann Brauer--YIKES it's October

Dear all,

Suddenly the days are getting shorter. The trees are starting to turn those wonderful shades of gold and yellow, rust and red. How much time do I spend gazing out the windows of my new studio. Yes, they are even more magnificent than ever. Looking at the colors move up the mountain. Gorgeous. Looking upriver at the promise of the river. Such lovely reflections of the Bridges on the water. Oh it is more glorious than I even remembered and so hard to capture in a snapshot.

And speaking of rivers, did you see my half page spread in Art New England this month? What an honor that was. Yes, this quilt is called "green river" one of the series of new pieces I did once I knew for sure I was moving back toy the new studio.

Meanwhile I am getting ready for some truly wonderful craft shows. This month I am doing the Paradise City Arts Festival in Northampton October 11-13 at the Tri County Fairgrounds. What a fun show this is. The food is absolutely wonderful--Thai and Indian, Chinese and Italian. There is live music. And of course there is the art--fine art and craft and items that are just for fun. I could spend hours exploring this entire show. I am Booth 914 in the Main Building. If you check out their web site, there are even discount tickets available. www.paradisecityarts.com

Then on to the Philadelphia Museum of Art Show at the Philly Convention Center November 6-9. This is THE craft show and I can't tell you how excited I am to be doing this show this year after a hiatus of many years. So I am busy sewing as many new quilts as I possibly can and of course the more I sew the more I get inspired. Oh I wish there were more hours in the day. For more info www.pmacraftshow.org

Meanwhile I hope to see some of you at the shows in the next couple of months. Of course I would love to show off my new studio if you get up to Shelburne Falls--although call first just to make sure I am there. And I do hope you get to enjoy some of the glories of this season.

Monday, September 22, 2014

I am curious--red

OK, let's face it. As my DH says, I always have a quilt to finish. Well, sometimes it is an eyeglass case or a placemat. Sometimes a potholder or a table runner. But always I have something to do. And I always have far more designs and colors that I want to play with than I possibly ever will have time to make.

So the question is how do I choose what to do next? After all, for every quilt I make there will be so many others that never get made. And if I commit to a large quilt, then I know how tired--physically and mentally--I will be each day when I come home from work. How will I find the energy to make the next one?

But if I just keep making the smaller items, then I won't have that big quilt I know I need for all the craft shows I have coming up this year. Paradise City and Philadelphia, CraftBoston and the ArtRider Morristown Show in December. Yikes. So I keep making the small items and think--do I want the blue quilt that will look like the sky? Or the green and purple quilt that will have such wonderful colors of autumn? I sketch them out. Even calculate the size of the rows.

Then one day I start. Almost without thinking. A geometric quilt in greys and blacks with just one red accent. Could the power of the quilt be derived just from the repetition of the design? So simple that it becomes complex.  A quilt about quilts. Where the sheer size of the quilt is part of its power.  I can visualize it--but only barely. That makes it interesting doesn't it?

I arrange all sorts of reds to create the central color.

red--quilt--Ann Brauer

And I sew. How wide--I am not sure. How much color change--I am not sure. There is that phrase from my days as a lawyer--don't ask questions you don't know the answer to.  I just keep going. And pin it up to the design wall.

red--quilt--Ann Brauer

I test a few different color ways just to make sure. The teal is just too bright. This was not what I had in mind but I wanted to double check it since I know that teal sells. Yes, there is a bit of method in my madness. I do have a new building to pay for after all. But it is wrong. Grey is what I want.

grey--quilt--Ann Brauer

Again I arrange the colors and sew. Hmmm. What do I think?

quilt--Ann Brauer 2014

Is it working? Is it too stark?  I add another row. As I tell a friend, I just have to keep going. If I stop it will be hard to get it done.

quilt--Ann Brauer 2014

But then I decide to play with the other side. After all, I don't want the red so far to the side of the quilt.

quilt--Ann Brauer--2014

Yes, that is adding to the power of the quilt. Not sure I want just those rows on that side but it does give me some place to go.

quilt--Ann Brauer--2014

I can think about it later. As I finish the last row of grey. Interesting. I won't even think about sewing this quilt together. How long that will take.  How I will have to break it up. Make some smaller items as I do the finish work. Instead I need to keep the momentum going. And of course there are so many more quilts I want to make. That will come to me as I ponder this piece.

And you--how do you decide which quilt to make? Do you ever just plunge in because you are curious? And will I see some of you at my new studio? Or maybe at one of the craft shows that I will be doing? Paradise City is October 11-13 in Northampton. www.paradisecityarts.com  The Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show is November 6-9. www.pmacraftshow.org

Sunday, September 7, 2014

one fine day

Yikes. It is September. Soon I have the Paradise City Arts Festival. Then the Philadelphia Museum Show in November. I need to get working. Not that I have been slacking off this summer--I haven't. Oh sure I have stopped to smell the roses on the Bridge of Flowers--literally and figuratively. I have even made a few vain attempts to attack the weeds in my garden. New studios do take time also. Those last minute tweaks and issues. Gazing at the view perhaps a little too long.

But now it is time to make quilts. Seriously.

I have the name. "One fine day". Isn't it a glorious name for a quilt? I even know the colors. Teal--the perfect color for such a fine day. Don't you love how that color is both sky and ocean? The colors of expanse and dreams. Why they make so few great fabrics in teal I will never understand but I get them when I can and hoard them. Search through my collection--are they disguising themselves in green or hiding with the blues? Maybe they even want to pretend to be grey. I scour my stash and start.

One fine day--quilt--Ann Brauer

This part is easy. Don't you love those little splashes of color?

one fine day--quilt--Ann Brauer
one fine day--quilt--Ann Brauer

I work so hard, I don't even remember to take images. Oh well. Now is the time I need the pictures anyway.  I pin a placeholder on the quilt. I want the "sun" at the horizon. But what color?

one fine day--quilt--Ann Brauer

Is this too small? Too red? Do the colors as well as possible?

I make an attempt. Yes, I have to cut and piece the whole thing out to get the final effect. That is why quilts take so long. Or at least one of the reasons.

one fine day--quilt--Ann Brauer

That is too strong, isn't it. Overpowers the quilt. The dreaminess I am searching for is not there. If at first....

I try another placeholder.

one fine day--quilt--Ann Brauer

It looks very different doesn't it? Almost cold. Not what I want. If at second....

I play with colors. Line them out on my table.

one fine day--quilt--Ann Brauer

Step back. Tweak them. Is it warm enough? I search again through my stash. Are those in-between golds and browns in short supply? How does this work? How wide do I want it? Again, sometimes I just have to sew.

one fine day--quilt--Ann Brauer

Not bad. Of course I may change my mind as I sew the quilt together. But at least this is a start. I am headed in the right direction I think.

Whew. That took a while. What do you think? And will I get to show you my new studio as the leaves change. I can't wait to see the view of the mountain. There is even an Art Walk this Saturday 4-7.  Or maybe you can make it to one of the shows. For more info on the Paradise City Arts Festival check out www.paradisecityarts.com The Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show is November 6-9 at the Convention Center www.pmacraftshow.org