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I was standing at my booth at a craft show in Evanston, IL when friends came running down.

“Ann,” they said. “Is there anyone who can get your work out of your studio?”

Shelburne Falls is flooding.

I tried to reach my husband at home in Massachusetts but he was on the phone with my step-daughter watching the flood waters creep higher around my studio. Soon, I saw my studio float down the river. What an awful feeling. How to cope? This was not supposed to happen. My building had stood since the 1930’s and was high above the river.

Driving home I kept focusing on the future. I knew that I could make quilts that no one else made. I knew I had run my own business for 30 years. But how to go about re-establishing my studio? Of course, I would contact CERF+. After all, I had been donating money to them since they began. Just little amounts but what I could. Indeed, even before I got home I received an e-mail from them, How can we help? What a relief it was to know that they were there. Soon I received a lovely check from them.

Immediately, I rented a new studio space in town and with lots of volunteer help prepared to move in. I ordered storage cabinets and lights. I bought a counter. A design board. What else did I need to display my work? What fabrics did I most need? It was a question I had never wanted to even think about. However, thanks to CERF+ and lots of friends and strangers, I was able to re-open my doors–albeit a bit roughly–even before the Iron Bridge (which separates the two halves of Shelburne Falls) was declared safe for cars.

Ann Brauer online


“After giving myself a year to get my feet back on the ground and determine if I even wanted to continue making quilts, I rebuilt my studio in the old location although much higher and with a very sound foundation. My new studio with its amazing vistas of the river has pushed me to create even more dramatic and free flowing quilts that expand the possibilities of quilt making. Again–thanks CERF+ for being there when I most needed to feel that I could move on.”