Anyone expecting a new baby, or those who have the desire to create for one, will love Anna Maria Horner’s newest book, Handmade Beginnings. From a gorgeous diaper bag, to a welcoming quilt, nesting blocks, to baby booties, this book is full of dynamic color, flawless patterns, and inspiration to shower any new little one with handmade goodness.
Anna joins us today to give us a peek into her creative life, and the family that inspires her.
Your newest book, Handmade Beginnings, is a treasure for sewing mamas everywhere. What made you decide to write such a comprehensive book for mothers, babies and siblings?
I was in the works to do a second book already, a quilt book, when I discovered that we were expecting #6. Even as I wrote the first book, Seams to Me, I had thoughts of doing a book that is specifically geared towards the family and the home. So it seemed like a natural and perfect way to spend nine months, as I knew I would be creating new things for myself and the new baby anyway. And having the experience of watching all the kids get excited about their new sibling, I couldn’t help but try to create ways for them to feel as involved with the welcoming as possible. Everyone in the family deserves to be recognized for their role, and sometimes it the smallest bit of time and fabric put together to forever let your older ones know how important they are.
Your fabrics, as well as your patterns, are so dynamic and unique. Where does your inspiration come from?
There are such a lot of things that inspire me, but a great deal of the items that I design are usually brought about by my love of color and my desire to create unique construction for useful goods. I dream about ways things can come together to build any sort of item, big or small, and have a hard time not jumping up in the middle of the night to start on it!
What was your favorite part of constructing this book, and how did you allow your creative process to unfold during the journey?
I really, really enjoyed just doing the work of the sewing to see a final design come together. I often have every detail of the writing, constructing, designing, and photo shoot in my head for a project before I even begin any of it. So while that can serve as a faithful guide to my process, I sometimes have to remind myself to let go, and let it happen. This is especially true for photo shoots with babies! So many of the shots happened the way that they did because they couldn’t happen the way that I hoped for them too. And just like life with kids, real is ALWAYS better!
As a mother of 6 beautiful children, how do you keep your creative process fresh, and how does your family inspire the projects that you choose to take on?
Simply put, I just get up everyday and get to work. There is always so much to do around here to keep this house running happily, that I think tiny little things like frustrations, creative hangups, just get squashed out- there isn’t time for them. The time that I have either with my family or my work is precious so I try to make the very most of each.
Authenticity is such a hard trait to hold onto in a mass produced world. How do you manage to keep such a unique part of yourself in all that you create?
The design and production process has become a really interesting thing these days and with many types of production, I think knowing what is important to you in that structure is imperative. I cannot get the desirable reach with my design work by simply selling handmade goods from my own hands. I did do that for years and it was rewarding, but eventually I had new aspirations. Sharing my art on a larger scale involves the work of many manufacturers and all levels of production. However at the very heart of it, is still me getting excited about the smallest thing that I made….and then sharing that as inspiration with my customers, my blog readers, the world, keeps it centered on the essence of making, and the originality that I work hard to maintain.
As autumn is approaching, can you tell us how this season affects your designs, creativity and inspiration?
Oh I definitely turn towards the outside, as the heat wears out, and of course the desire to make new clothes for myself, the kids. Maybe another blanket or two for Roman’s new nursery (he’s been sharing with two sisters, but now that the oldest is gone to college, he’ll take over her room.) Getting out in the garden to clean up what summer has done, and get ready for fall planting will no doubt inspire some of the designs for a spring fabric collection. I love the churn of seasons!
What is your favorite part of the autumn season?
The smoky smell in the air, and chilly mornings on the porch with coffee and my husband.
Going back to the book, do you have a favorite pattern that you just have sewn over and over with joy?
Definitely the baby jacket and pants are getting lots and lots of use!
Do you have any new or special projects lined up, and if so, what are you most excited about seeing them come to life?
Oh my goodness, I have so many things in the hopper right now. I am particularly excited about a jewelry line that I am working on, because until I was asked to work on one, and until I actually started to do it, I had no idea that I actually have a point of view in that medium. But I can hardly wait to see it happen. I have learned a lot about myself as a designer, and I think that is everything, and the best reason to work….. to grow.
Please enjoy this Nesting Cubes Pattern from Handmade Beginnings.
Anna Maria Horner (Nashville, TN) is a top fabric designer in the textile and sewing industry. Admired for her luminous palette and innovative patterns, Anna Maria continues to develop fabric lines for Free Spirit, and is building an ever-growing library of textiles to inspire creative souls worldwide. Her fabrics and projects have been featured in several national magazines including a designer profile in Better Homes and Gardens magazine and she has been a guest on The Martha Stewart Show. Anna Maria’s blog is read by thousands every day, at her blog AnnaMariaHorner. Anna has published two books with Wiley, Seams to Me and Handmade Beginnings.