Anna Maria Horner grew up in a house full of her dad's paintings and with a closet full of her mom's handi-work. Beds were warmed by the hand-loomed wool blankets sent by her grandmother from Greece. The busy little bodies of her and her siblings were warmed by the beautiful handknits of their grandmother in Indiana. As a kid in the 70's, she passed up the $1.79 Barbie dresses in Service Merchandise, opting instead to create designs from her mother's fabric scraps....an artist was born.
In 1995, after graduating with an Honors Fine Arts Degree in Drawing from the University of Tennessee, Anna Maria opened Handmaiden, a clothing and housewares boutique. This retail space served as the homebase for Anna Maria's clothing line which she designed and produced, together with her mom. Eventually, the label was offered to the wholesale market, where it sold at several stores across the country.
During her years as a retailer/designer, Anna Maria had her hands in almost every medium on a daily basis. Designing clothing served an interest that she had since childhood. Her love of fabrics and patterns spilled onto her fine art canvases as well. Though busy with clothing design and production, Anna Maria found the energy to stay active artistically through exhibiting in galleries regularly. Her paintings, both small and large scale, are part of hundreds of private and commercial collections.
There have been many interesting stops on her artistic path but a common element in all of Anna Maria's work whether clothing, accessories, quilts or paintings is a passion for color and vibrancy. As she continued to realize her point of view in sewing, painting, writing, and photography, all of these disciplines created a dialoque, one bettering the other, and leading to a constant stream of artistic growth. Her fascination of taking an item through all the necessary steps from her sketchbook to a store shelve sparked the momentum to create a brand. Anna Maria's fresh perspectives within traditional markets and her vision of being surrounded by the work of her own hands has led her to partnering with more than two dozen manufacturers to design homewares, gift items, textiles and to authoring her first sewing book, Seams To Me, published October 2008.
Today Anna Maria and her husband, Jeff, make their home in Nashville with their five children, and eagerly await baby #6 in May 2009! She and her husband embrace both the charming wonders and the imperfect moments of raising a large family. She is incredibly thankful to be able to seek out her artistic goals in the presence of their encouragement and is constantly inspired by the spontaneity and tempo of it all.