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Anna Maria Horner
Oh hi. After i began work on my Fibs and Fables collection last winter, I remember thinking that by the time the fabrics are in hand, a lot may have changed in my try on hairstyles with your picture for free work & home life. And while that’s all true, returning to this blog to jot down about my design work feels comfortable and almost nostalgic. I have been writing about my work here for nearly exactly 9 years, which is difficult to believe. I am so thankful for the non-public history and correspondence that exists here and love having the ability to deepen it when time allows. So today. Fibs & Fables. Here is the official inspiration statement:
“Fibs & Fables was inspired by my interest in and love for vintage fairytale illustrations and I have never had more fun doing research. The notion of storytelling, in a way, is a system of make-believe with various motives: to show a lesson, to entertain or to perpetuate a culture’s belief system. And perhaps in a more cynical sense, stories are just fibs- but when set to beautiful images….they’re welcome lies. Exploring old German, Danish, British and American illustrations revealed all the beloved book scenery that I got lost in as a child. Many of those artists were themselves influenced by ancient artwork, ancient stories and Greek Mythology. What entranced and inspired my color directions was the element of fear and tragedy combined with body waves joyful resolutions. The balance of the 2, as well as the great and evil that is such a standard theme helped me to cast a moody palette on the fabric’s color ways. The prints themselves are a not so literal in telling any specific fib, fable or fairytale, but rather bring to light the elements that exist in so many of our favorite stories. The collection is as fun for children’s quilts, decor and clothing as it’s unexpected for women’s fashion.”
I will further say that for someone who will not be a lot a novelty print designer, I found the fairytale theme a unique challenge. And I can not say that I was inspired by any one fairytale or set of characters as much as I was inspired by the art that has told those stories over centuries. I therefore sometimes shifted my focus to present imagery in a less literal way, but still include elements that act as the building blocks that may tell many stories at once.
So shall we have a look at the prints
A described above, I was as fascinated by peripheral imagery, and i suppose you possibly can say that rather than having a print portrayal of a clock striking twelve, I have the above gem.
Church windows, castle windows, tower windows, yes this is much more literal. But my focus here is on the potential of escape from dark to light, as seen through the windows. You just have to figure out which one you fit through.
I after all had to present a nod to Greek mythology…. but I was really only inspired to take action in this collection when I found so many illustrators over the past two centuries doing the same of their work. Helios was imagined to be the god of the sun and he lit up the sky each night with four winged, fire-breathing horses. And who would not want to draw that Drawing horses is such a connection to my childhood that it was a welcome theme. This one may even come in three colors of Rayon Challis.
So a lot of my favorite stories as a child had a component of making- the spinning wheel in Sleeping Beauty, the humble dress made by little creatures in Cinderella, the invisible garment within the Emperor’s New Clothes…. so I paired those ideas with the culture of dressmaking and tailoring that and set them to a seemingly magic wand of a needle doing the work without hands.
This one is a sweet representation of folk art styles found in many German and Dutch fairytale illustrations and to me it feels reminiscent of cozy interior spaces and kettles and dishes.
I used to be obsessive about drawing characters with braids when I was a girl. I loved having to re-figure out the best way to do it every time. I actually enjoy how equally weird and normal this print may be. Only weird once you imagine it to be hair, but more normal when you’ve got baskets on the mind.
I suppose you can call this my wish upon a star print. Eyes, tears, stars. It’s a tiny little print and this one will be in Rayon Challis as well.
And if a fairytale is a depiction of struggle from begin to resolution, I loved the thought of including some type of a maze-like print. I had originally thought of hedge mazes, but that was less interesting to me visually, so I used to be messing around with meandering designs. Then when researching ancient Greek art to develop the Helios print, the Greek key design was waving at me. It was saying DUH.
Well After all I had to do a landscape. What good fairytale book was without some form of landscape Apart from that, I’ve always been intrigued (terrified) of developing a landscape image into a repeat. I presents a very unique set of challenges that other prints do not. I’ve shown what an almost fat quarter looks like above with the intention to see how it all comes together. I’ll admit this one took me FOREVER. Resolving how elements came together on all sides proved quite tricky (a lot of walking away) and but then extremely rewarding once I let go of reality. Stars become flowers. Roadways result in clouds. Clouds become water. Sky becomes ground. And weeping willows grow tears instead of leaves. And the entire of it’s guarded by a flight of swallows (how could I not pay homage to Thumbelina ) Should you follow me on Instagram you might keep in mind that when I was first sketching this print (in my bedroom mind you) that a bird practically landed on my shoulder who should have gotten within the house and was hiding under my bed. Yep.
And Gallant colorway~
There are a complete of 27 pieces in the quilting cotton collection, and I’ve been working on some very fun sewing for the upcoming fall Quilt Market which I will be sharing in the approaching weeks. As mentioned above there’ll even be 6 Rayon Challis pieces, that I have already been making clothes out of!
Beginning on Monday of next week, my online shop will probably be pre-selling full collection stacks of Fibs & Fables which should ship out the first week in November!!! And to celebrate the launch, anyone who pre-orders a full collection stack from my shop will receive a free limited run fine art print of Helios, shown above measuring 8.5×11″. Perks, people!
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