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Featured Shop: Btaylor Quilts

Jan 2, 2015

by Briana Taylor

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Hello! My name is Briana Taylor. I live in a beautiful forest in the hills of Western Massachusetts with my partner, Jeff, and our three cats. I make quilts and sewn goods for Btaylor Quilts. I also have a degree in studio art from Mount Holyoke College, and I list my artwork in my other Etsy shop, Briana Taylor.

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My mom started teaching me to sew when I was about six years old. She had taken tailoring classes, and she made beautiful clothes for herself, my sister and me. She loved fashion and textiles, and she taught me how to read patterns, choose fabrics, and use a sewing machine. I made my first quilt in 1999 – it was a king size, which I quilted by hand. It took me over a year to complete; it was arduous, but fun, and a beautiful result. I finally learned free-motion quilting in a class at a local quilt shop. That changed everything!

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When I joined Etsy in 2007, I was mostly selling small things, like pot holders and coasters. At the time, I was balancing the demands of my creative life with those of a full-time “real job.”  It was rare that I had time to make a large quilt, but I managed to make several each year. I invested in a long arm quilting machine in 2011, and with it, I was able to create larger, bed-sized quilts more efficiently and comfortably. Shortly after that, I resigned from my day job and began to seriously organize my quilting business.

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A great deal of my inspiration comes from nature and art. During my studies, I learned about atmospheric perspective and representing depth through color, and I reveled in color theory. Living in an area where I am surrounded by trees, it’s not often that I get an expansive view of the landscape. When I visit places in coastal New England and the deserts of Colorado and Arizona, I’m always astonished by the boundless landscape, distant horizons, and the path that color takes to illustrate that depth. There’s no doubt that these influences play a part in my work, as do modern art and the clean lines of modern architecture.

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I’ve always been interested in working monochromatically, where you take apart one color and expand it through tones and hues. I set a limited pallet from which to work and try to illustrate color and depth within those limits. The gradation quilts might look simple, given the singularity of color, but a great deal of work goes into getting the sequence of light to dark just right. I have an ever-changing stash of fabric to work from, so the variations on this single theme are pretty extensive over time. Each quilt presents a new challenge.

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I work in a fairly linear way, and for a long time I worked on only one project at a time. Over the years I’ve figured out how to be more efficient, and I’ve recently set up larger design boards and more table space so that I can work on simultaneous projects. Each step, from shopping for fabrics, washing, drying, ironing, cutting, to laying out the quilts, appeals to my excessive love of organization.

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With Etsy, a worldwide marketplace is open and accessible; anyone in the world can see my work. I’ve shipped my quilts to Turkey, Japan, Australia, the UK, and many other locations. People trust Etsy and its artisans, and as a selling platform, that trust is important. Etsy plays an integral part in my ability to do what I love. I have plans to build a studio on our property in the near future. I’d love to expand my business, and one of the ways to do this is to have enough space to hire an assistant and work on many projects at once.

Follow Btaylor Quilts on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebookand on Briana’s blog.

All photographs by One Match Films.

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