Friday, May 23, 2014

Pretty Close

by.land
By Land
bysea.
By Sea
by.air
By Air

I am so pleased to share a close look at my new collection of quilting Cotton, Pretty Potent. Here is the write-up that I've offered to describe my inspiration for the collection in short:  

I've always considered sitting in front of a plant with a pencil and paper the best drawing class one can take. Looking to nature for inspiration and instruction on beauty is an old and welcome practice in all forms of making art. Using the natural world for healing is perhaps even an older practice. In my Pretty Potent collection, I drew inspiration specifically from plants and flowers that are often used for healing. While they possess properties to heal our physical bodies, the very beauty of the plants themselves seems intended to be a balm for the soul. Potent and pretty. The duality enchanted me

That is most of the story. There is always a bit more to it. Sometimes I feel compelled to share that extra bit, and this is one of those times.  As misplaced as the back story might actually seem in the realm of cotton fabric (for heaven's sake), I have always felt that there aren't any real rules to any of this so no imminent breaking of them I suppose either. Roughly a year ago I had a newborn baby who needed milk and precious undivided attention around the clock. I had the sting of shock with every move that I made having just lost my mother only weeks earlier, and in many ways was suffering from post-traumatic stress as the recurring images of the very intimate details of losing her slowly over several days by her side, as blessed as I was to be there, appeared in my eyes in my sleep and with every possible trigger of memory in my days.  I had contracted MRSA from the hospital where I delivered Mary Anna that was unbelievably painful and required a great amount of care to prevent giving it to the baby as the main infection site was right in my underarm very near where her sweet head rested as she nursed.  I had torn a ligament in my left knee by slipping down my father's stairs the night before the 40-day memorial for my mother, rendering me limp and unable to go on long walks that I desperately needed for my recovery of body and soul, without intense amounts of pain.  I had a vascular anamoly that would not stop bleeding for more than a month that finally required plastic surgery to remove from my sternum. And I was behind on work. Which was a pittance in comparison to all of the above, however it was work for which I so wanted to be joyful and healthy and glad.  It was designing my fabric collection. I was in need of healing.  In so many ways.  Specifically never in my life had I been in more need of physical healing, let alone the rest. I was bankrupt of the typically deep well of inspiration that I have for making art. I settled then, very mechanically at first, on allowing my work, my drawing, my coloring, and my inspiration to derive itself from subject matter that was very specifically about healing. But also beauty. Desperate for both.  My colorway names are derived from a prayer for travelers, as the tiniest additional plea from me.  And yes it is attached to something that certainly does not require such an outpouring of emotion or even thought, only being fabric.  But you see, there was no other possible way for me to do it if I could not create all of it at once, just like this and convince myself (a lie perhaps) that doing so in this exact way would certainly help.  I was so in need of help.  I prayed continually for it.  I asked my dear mother in prayer for it in a quiet room where I got no response other than a sweet baby making little slurpy nursing noises, and I would then have to force a response in my head, holding so closely to the imagined sound of my mother's voice, fearing if I didn't I would lose it forever.  I needed even this work for hire to be a process, a story, a prayer, and even a recovery.  And so it was.  A little.  And a joy now to feel how much I have indeed in every physical sense healed since then, across the months since the first drawing to now finally the sewing.  I will continue a little now, as though I have not indulged enough, and share each of the prints closely.

echineacea
Echinacea is commonly used to heal a common cold and boost the immune system.

chammomile
Chammomile is commonly used to heal inflammations of the skin and bacteria on the skin.

eucalyptus
Eucalyptus is commonly used to heal wounds, ulcers and burns.

mary.thistle
Mary Thistle was used in the first century to protect the liver and treat cancer.

primrose
Primrose is thought to have benefits for many different ailments including autoimmune diseases.

aloe.vera
Aloe Vera is most commonly used to heal burns, but has uses for numerous ailments.

banner.days
Banner Days is a design inspired by the Mexican folk art, papel picado which is used to decorate family celebrations like baptisms, weddings and even funerals.

family.unit
Family Unit is inspired by the group of us that are commonly used to heal ME.

thank you, xoxoAM


87 comments:

  1. I'm so grateful for every word of this post. For this glimpse inside the raw realness that stands beside the beauty. Sending peace and light to you. I can't wait to make a quilt with these fabrics and stitch my own healing alongside yours.

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  2. It's always so moving to me when you share the backstory of your work. It brings so much more meaning to the fabrics and thus the things that will be made from them. Thank you endlessly for your talents, openness and honesty. You remain one of my biggest inspirations in the world of sewing. ❤️April

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  3. What an amazing back story and as usual an amazing fabric collection. You are an amazing woman and someone I admire greatly. I wish you and yours all the best :)

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  4. Thank you for sharing with all of us!

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  5. Thank you for sharing. Hugs.

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  6. Thank you so much for sharing the story behind this beautiful fabric collection. You have given me a needed reminder and "lift" during my own personal family struggle that through time, patience and hope come the gifts of beauty, joy, peace and wellness. My thoughts are with you as your heart continues to heal.

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  7. I received my fat quarters today, I ordered them to make a quilt for my father who has cancer. I am a long time user of herbalism and ordered them exactly for that reason, to make a quilt with a lot of intention in it, for healing and protection. Thank you for this toughtful collection.

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  8. There's an energy of pain & heartbreak in this collection. It overwhelmed me when I saw it in person. I normally buy a half yard of all your new prints, but instead I gravitated to the Mary thistle print and bought a bolt. My mother passed away in 2010 of liver cancer & reading your post today made me break down & cry. The one print I bought was an herbal cure for liver & cancer.... I feel my momma in your art & that's powerful stuff.

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  9. Thanks for sharing all that with us, this year HAS to be easier for you...love the fabric line too.

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  10. Thank you for sharing this story. I love to know the story behind art, and I think this one is a gift from God to heal you through making things. Now you are giving a gift to us--the story and the fabric (which I love). Now I think of this as not only a beautiful collection, but also one with depth.

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  11. Thank you for keeping it real! It makes Pretty Potent all that more special. We who are mamas strive through all the ugly, embarassing, painful moments with soo much strength and in the end makes us even more beautiful each time!

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  12. I love this fabric even more now. In need of some healing myself.

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  13. You are constantly inspiring me with your down-to-earth demeanor and generous spirit. Those characteristics add so much depth and emotion to your work - it really is evident in all you do. Thank you for being so generous with your words, too. I feel very blessed to know you. xo.

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  14. Thank you for sharing. You are one strong, talented woman. When I look at your art I see and feel so much emotion and beauty. Now I know why.
    Blessings to you and your family.

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  15. This was such a thoughtful, personal post, and I'm so glad you shared it with us. Praying that your healing will continue and your strength will grow. Blessings on you!

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  16. Thank you for always sharing so much with us. I hope this fabric line and the fabric community continues to be a source of healing for you!

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  17. Thank you for being willing to share this with us readers. I've been admiring your new collection and love it even more with this background knowledge. I'd imagined that some of its healing inspiration may have come from your mother, and had no idea there were so many other trials going on behind the scenes. How smart you are to have approached healing in this way. I'm so glad it worked, and believe it was bound to all along from the way you've written about it. I am truly an admirer of your work and of YOU. Bravo.
    PS. There's something about the echinacea and the chamomile blossoms that remind me stylistically of early Disney and Mary Blair- love them both so much!

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  18. Thank you for sharing your story. You have brought true life to your fabric. I am looking forward to sewing with your new collection!

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  19. I love this collection from the first time I saw it (now I have it at home:), but after reading the story behind it, I love it even more. Thank you for sharing your great talent with us!

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  20. Thank you so much for sharing. Your creations always speak to me. Much love, peace and healing to you.

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  21. Continued healing, breaths of fresh air and using our abundant natural healing resources to make our world a better place. The thoughts, sounds and memories of your mother and loved ones are always with you. Know that your creativity heals many of us that can't wait for your beautiful fabrics that, in turn, gets passed onto others and heals them with warmth and love. Your work and creativity heals many of us...in so many ways! Thank You for sharing....and your beautiful work.

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  22. All I can say is WOW. It is so easy to get so caught up in our own little worlds that we forget that other people, even famous, fabulously creative artists like you, can have daily struggles similar to our own. I will appreciate this collection all the more for the words you shared of the back story. I'm so glad that you are feeling so much stronger and I wish you and your family all the best.

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  23. Continues healing Anna Maria. Thank you for sharing this very personal journey and look at the amazing outcome from the road you've traveled. I love this line in more than all the rest...which I adore.

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  24. This is awesome! I haven't bought fabric in a few years (I've got enough quilting cotton to make quilts for the rest of my life), but I'm so drawn to the echinacea. Very beautiful! Keep doing what you're doing, because I love reading your blog and seeing what you're up to.

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  25. I think this collection is stunning. I love all your work, but certain collections just hit a note with me, artistically, emotionally, whatever. I was just thinking - where does she find time to center herself? Where is the deep well she draws from? I know art doesn't just happen by itself, you really have to work at it. Your work amazes me. I don't know how you do it all, with many kids and producing such inspirational work. I appreciate hearing the back story as well. It is really so meaningful for me to hear it, personally. I will be thinking about your story behind this collection, and drawing strength for my own life from your story. Thank you.

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  26. Anna Maria Horner, God Bless You.

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  27. Wow. That is a lot of beauty from a lot of pain. I love the stories you share so honestly here. I now see the collection in a whole new light.

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  28. Thank you for sharing your story. The fabric is even more beautiful knowing your story.

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  29. Good! Heavens! That is a lot to happen to one woman in a short period of time. May your healing continue unfettered.

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  30. Your story has just moved mountains. I am touched just like so many others that you have shared how Pretty Potent came about. May you continue to find peace and healing. I can't wait to create my own quilt with this lovely collection to pass along the comfort and healing that being wrapped in a blanket brings.

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  31. I understand this; it is often the voices of those we love deeply that when they are waiting for us on the other side of things, that we fear losing the most... just the other day I had a dream where I heard my now departed spiritual mother's voice; a gift from God. Thank God that we have the prayers of the church and that in church we are never far from them. Memory Eternal! May God remember your Mother in His Kingdom!

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  32. Beautiful.Raw.Honest.Truth. May the memories of your Mother's life, & the new life of your child mingle and entwine for many more beautiful enchanting collections... x Amanda

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  33. Just lost my mother this past week. She had suffered Alzheimer's for several years, which truly is the "long goodbye", but died from something unrelated. I can attest to the post traumatic stress that follows spending the last days with someone who is actively dying. --my sleep brings dreams that I cannot even remember but the smallest fragments, but they disturb me and I think I am blocking them out in self protective mode. Still they cast a shadow over my day.
    So glad that you have healed physically and are on the mend emotionally too - grief is so painful and sometimes the pangs are so difficult to bear. Your fabric designs are lovely --truly beauty from ashes.
    V

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  34. So many crafters make gifts of healing, locking a prayer into every stitch and stroke. It's beautiful that the artist behind the raw material has done the same. It renders the product even more sacred. For myself, I still can't watch any depictions of CPR on TV or in movies. Not since my dad died almost two years ago. I tried so hard.

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  35. To me, this is how a true artist creates, and for that WE are blessed with your amazing work. Thank you!

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  36. Powerful! Thank you so much for sharing your story.

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  37. Truly potent designs, they come from a great depth of creativity and show such strength.

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  38. for sure, thank you for sharing. Very often we don't see the invisible sufferings and how the healing takes place - you have created a beautiful fabric set to remember your healing journey and to create one of a kind pieces.

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  39. Hi!!!! I came to see your beautiful fabric and found so much more!!!! Very sweet of you to share!!!! The fabric is coming from your inner beauty and it shows!!!! You are very strong but I am sending hugs and prayers!!!! Thank You

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  40. Thank you so much for sharing this. It's always interesting to hear the work that goes into designing fabric and even more so to hear that the process was healing for you, too. And as a former Australian, I especially love the Eucalyptus print

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  41. I loved hearing about everything behind, Pretty Potent, Anna. Actually, after you've come out with a fabric collection one of my favorite things is to hear how it all came about for you! I think infusing your collections with so much heart, and being so closely related to what you're thinking and feeling at the time you design is the only way to do it.
    love you, xoAchaia

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  42. Wow! Thank you for sharing. This has made me love the line even more. And how strange should I use this fabric in a quilt I have in mind I will think of you - a stranger, but a mother too, and like most of us, needs healing every now and then. Thank you.

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  43. Your courage and determination are inspirational. May there be Light for the highest good of all concerned.

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  44. THank you for sharing. I just received this collection of fabric last week, as well as Dowry and Hand Drawn Garden. And then spent four days straight putting them all to work in a quilt. I actually found it quite therapeutic and healing - even though what I'm going through is nothing compared to what you have just shared. But you have to know that what you have created, through your own healing, also brings so much joy to us! Take care xx

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  45. Such beautiful fabrics obviously brought together by your need to heal, the tremendous love and passion you held for your mum and then your newfound love and tender care for your newborn!! A flower represents the joy of life and faith !! Congrats on a divine collection.

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  46. Thank you for sharing your touching story. Your mother truly is with you in so many ways. These are inspired fabrics and the glow of those first echinacea is quite beautiful.

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  47. Such a beautiful range, and will have extra meaning when I use it. Thank you.

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  48. Such heartbreak leading to such creative beauty! Thank you!

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  49. I have to say that more than ever this sharing of personal history makes me want to purchase the fabric. Being able to use the fruits of someone's journey of pain and catharsis and make something that involves my personal journey and concept of beauty and healing is perfect, adding an extra layer of conceptual depth and physical beauty. Thank you very much for sharing. Brings back echoes of my own losses and blessings.

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  50. Thank you for sharing the inspiration behind this collection. It's already one of my favorites.

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  51. Your fabrics are beautiful! We are so blessed to be living in God's Kingdom, no matter how hidden it sometimes is. May your mother's memory be eternal!

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  52. Sure do miss those sweet pictures on instagram!

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  53. Thank you for being so forthright in what you were going through and how you have become healed with creativity and time! It gives me hope as well.

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  54. You are such an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your story. So much emotion, heartbreak, love and beauty all at the same time. I know when I am feeling stressed and worrisome, and sometimes in need of a little healing myself, I can read your posts, and I am not only inspired, but uplifted! Thank you so much! And those fabrics are just gorgeous! I sure wish I knew how to sew other than just handwork! God bless you and your family. Have a wonderful Summer!

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  55. Loved hearing the meaning and story behind this line that I loved and ordered the minute I first saw it. I really didn't know why I liked it so much, but now I do. I can so relate to you needing healing from injuries and the loss of your dear mother. Quilting helped me heal from the loss of my mother! Thanks again for a beautiful post! Love your heart just as much as your art! So glad you found healing!

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  56. Dear Anna Maria,
    Thank you so much for your inspiring stories and absolutely beautiful fabrics. You made my day yesterday as I headed off for chemo- a weekly regimen for me as I have stage 4 breast cancer. I was in a good mood and looking forward to coming home to read your blog, order some fabrics and clean up my studio. I haven't done much in months but you have inspired me to get back to my art. We all seem to experience such a range of trials in life, it's important to focus on our blessings and the beauty of our natural world. Thank you so much!
    Susan

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  57. Thank you for such a lovely powerful collection of fabrics. Sewing them together as we all will in our own ways will surely increase the love, healing, and power they hold! Blessings to you dear Anna Maria!

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  58. Beautiful fabrics!!!
    I can't wait to order some from Chamomille :) my favorite herb flower.
    Hope that you can come to Texas some day.
    Btw...did you ever think to look into Hungarian Folk Embroidery?
    Maybe some inspiration for your next fabric line :)
    Sure would LOVE to see our beautiful embroidery on your awsome fabrics.

    Love, Tünde from Texas

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  59. I really loved this collection when I saw it recently in a fabric bundle in a local quilt shop. Reading about the source for your ideas for the pattern and how it came about, it seems just that much more special. I have found such emotional healing in working on quilts with beautiful fabrics such as you design, that it seems just perfect that this set of designs grew from your own need for physical and spiritual healing. May you be well. Thank you for sharing the back story with us.

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