Friday, June 6, 2014

Ann Lauer: The Face Behind the Poppies

We're thrilled to be sharing Ann Lauer's debut fabric line, Poppy Panache! A talented quilt designer, Ann has used her quilt pattern knowledge to make an incredibly quilter-friendly collection. She'll tell you more about it, both in the video below and in the Q&A session that follows.

Did you always want to design fabric?
When I started designing patterns, I was quite happy doing that, but then I thought that it would be great to use my own designs in the patterns I'm designing. So what I'm doing now is designing fabrics that fit into the types of patterns I like to design. It works beautifully—I can adjust motif size or shape, to what will work—things that I've learned after designing quilts with other people's fabric lines.

Why poppies?
My patterns scream for big, showy prints. We have very short summers here in Montana, but I actually do have poppies in my rock garden. It sounds cliché, but I was hiking and saw two small purple flowers—harebells and a kind of daisy—in the same color and value of purple, and I thought 'what a great combination!' That brought another range—adding purples with values of reds and greens.

Which print started it all?
I began with the great big poppy print, and spent a lot of time working with the Benartex artists on the colors—I wanted lots of variation to make sure the flowers were realistic and dimensional rather than flat. The poppies build on different values of reds, pinks, and oranges. Then I used those colors to pull the coordinates out. I think I have some really unusual coordinates—they're designed for this collection, but they work with others as well.

Do you see Poppy Panache as traditional, contemporary, or somewhere in between?
Poppies can be contemporary or traditional—depending on the colors—so I wanted my collection to be able to go both ways. The black, red, and white combination is more contemporary, while the soft greens and pinks are more traditional. I also think the coordinates really stand well on their own.

In your mind, what else stands out in the collection?
We worked a lot on the style too. It's not an actual watercolor, but the designs are really fluid with a lot of depth. Those greens in the foliage really flow, I think.

Favorite prints?
I love the large poppy and I think it's really dramatic on black. Then there's the stripe—I think it's really exciting. It has a  gradation from a very narrow up to a wide stripe. It is laid out on the fabric so it goes wide to narrow on a selvedge and then back to back in the center. You can slice a width of fabric down the middle to make 4 fussy-cut borders.

As a pattern designer as well, Ann's been busy creating patterns that show off her Poppy Panache fabric. She's shared images of three of her favorites with us here, two of which she also talks about in this second video (and you'll recognize All That Jazz from the first video!):

All That Jazz looks complicated but is not. The stripe is a 10" block cut on point and adds the dramatic graphic lines in the design. I love the colorful, happy feel of the design. The quilt pictured is queen size.

Center Attraction also uses the dramatic stripe cut in 10" squares, and this time it is the center focus of the design. The pieced border is simply made from an easy strip set. The quilt pictured is queen size.

It's Magic can be made as a table runner or a bed runner. The technique is bargello quilt-as-you-go and the poppies are fused on and edge stitched.  Simple but showy. It's dramatic in red, black & white and soft and pretty in the greens and purples. The table runners are pictured.  

See more of Ann's patterns using Poppy Panache (plus kits for many of them!) on her website, Grizzly Gulch Gallery.
Below is a sneak peek; see the full Poppy Panache fabric line here.

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  1. Awesome fabric! Thanks for sharing the "behind the scenes"

  2. Oh my stinking gosh, totally wonderful fabrics and wonderful info...thanks!

  3. Rosemary B here:
    Yikes! These are gorgeous fabrics! I love those RED poppies so much and all of the coordinating fabrics! Lovely video!

  4. Beautiful fabrics and patterns! And I just have to say, Ann, I love your hair!!