Thursday, February 26, 2015

it is what it is..

Ah Baltimore. The grand behometh of shows. The show where dreams come and go. The place of so much hope and anticipation for here is the possibility of magic. Some shows have been for me amazing. The year the couple could not decide which quilt to purchase and bought both. That was sweet. The year I couldn't wrap orders fast enough--I thought I might sell out. That was sweet. The year I received one of their awards--they only give out a few each year. Oh, that was indeed sweet.

Of course I forget the year of the blizzard. The city was almost shut down. An interesting adventure. Or the year I was tucked off in never never land. A break even year. The year of the first Gulf War. Sure people came and numbly walked the aisles. Not a year to remember though--the customers just wanted to forget the War.

As I get ready every winter, I try not to remember the more painful years. After all, this is my chance to get inspired. To make a statement. To see how my work measures up to the best of the best (and all the rest.) Don't you just love that rhyme?

I envision my booth. Plan it in my mind's eye again and again. What pieces do I need to make a statement--as strong as the other booths around me. I dream of the public being amazed by my work--why shouldn't they be? But even if they are not, I know this is just the start of the year. There is so much to learn--so much tweaking to do. So many questions to ask. This is not about me but about them. I am asking them to spend their money. To live with my work in their home. It is a privilege to respond to their questions. To listen. I am humble by the experience.

I love how light and airy my booth looks. The new flame series seeming to stretch toward the sky. I love the colors. The dance of the the flames. Doesn't it look good?

Baltimore booth--Ann Brauer

Well perhaps not as good as it looks in the studio. The studio is gorgeous and complete. The walls are real and clean. I do not need to have all the soft walls and light stands. I don't need to push everything together. There is a place at the studio and everything is in its space. That was the first warning.

The second was the little mumblings I heard in the distance. The ones where people whispered--this is work that is in transition--as though this was a bad thing. Maybe it was. Now I did want to show even more flames but there were just too many snow storms. Too many distractions. That I will give myself a pass on--I tried. I aim to stretch my work every year. That I think is a plus. I don't want my work to be static. I will give myself a pass there also. Although I could have presented the whole better. I push my work and sometimes it takes a while for me to find the whole amid the possible. Yes, I could have done better in retrospect--why do I always have more to learn? Sigh.

The third was not me. A snow storm. On Saturday. Normally the best day of the show. And Sunday was just Sunday. Those who had to see everything. I give myself a pass here--the weather is out of my control.

Still there was something to learn. Something I can do better for my next show. Paradise City Marlborough in March. My customers told me repeatedly that they wanted quilts that were five feet long instead of 80 inches. Eighty inches is too long for all but the largest tables. While I love the larger hangings, most walls are only 8 feet tall and so there is not enough room to hang a quilt that is 80 inches long.

That is a good idea.  So I start my first wall hanging. Grey just like the one that I sold but not quite as long. This one will have gentler colors just because.  I can make a couple for Paradise.

Flame wall hanging--Ann Brauer

I start with the colors and outline. Add more colors. I want it to work either as a table runner or a wall hanging. Practice is always fun.

Grey flame--Ann Brauer

And keep adding, one row at a time, the colors slightly different from the one I sold but such a good color. I need to make a couple more so I can make them in the colors people want. Enough so I can make custom orders in the color people need for their home. Yes, I wanted to make more anyway.

As for the booth--yes, I want to improve the booth but first I want to make more wall hangings. See what will happen. After all the best way to not have my work look transitional is to make more pieces so customers can feel reassured I can make a quilt just for them.

And you, do you find you learn something new every time you do a show or finish a new piece of art? What are your lessons? How do you make new work but still stay consistent with the market?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

the quilts of Ann Brauer--it's sNOwing again

Dear all,

Yikes. It is almost time for the Baltimore Fine Craft Show. February 20-22 at the Baltimore Convention Center. I am Booth 1207.

I have been working so hard getting ready. I got inspired to make a new series. Are they flames? Spires of hope? Rivers. I am not sure. I just know that I love them. This is a snapshot of the largest of the quilts. Don't you love how the colors just dance together? The quilt itself is about nine feet long.

quilt--Ann Brauer

Then there is this more controlled quilt--I am not sure if that is the right word--rhubarb fire.
rhubarb fire--40x40"--quilt--Ann Brauer
And the long blue flame. Not the best of my images but it is 80 inches long and can also be hung vertically. Wouldn't it look great over a bed?

quilt--Ann Brauer--13x80"

Well, there are several more quilts in this series. I am taking them all down to my photographer this Tuesday--weather permitting--and will have them at my Booth in Baltimore. Speaking of Baltimore, if you go to their web site you can pre-purchase tickets at a slight savings.  Friday evening between 5 and 8 tickets are only $5 for those who want to just a hint of the show. And while you are there, do check out the Made Room installations. My quilt --river of green--will be prominently displayed there. For those who want a blast from the past, the CERF+ Booth will have some images of my destroyed studio. They were so helpful after Tropical Storm Irene. For more information on the Baltimore Show:

river of green--38x38"--quilt--Ann Brauer

Meanwhile, if you can't make it to the show, I have been posting more quilts and other items on my Etsy site.  In March I will be at the Paradise City Arts Festival in Marlborough, Massachusetts March 20-22. Do check their web site for discount tickets and more information.

Well, enough for now. I hope you all manage to stay dry and safe. I will put the images of my new quilts on my web site as soon as I get them back.