Thursday, September 04, 2014
Well, we did it.
We have found the permanent, real, live, physical, perfect location for Craft South. I still can't believe it on so many levels. What started over 18 months ago as an itch to move my online shop fulfillment, and therefore employees, to a space outside of my home, has developed into a venture, that in my hope of hopes, is literally and metaphysically building a brick and mortar wall around everything that I have been doing my whole adult life. My name and that of my husband's is now signed on a lease for a building that is still in the process of being built in Nashville's most bustling neighborhood, 12th South. We hope to move in towards the end of the year, and be open for business sometime early in 2015. More about the project here.
The pop-up style of how we have been running Craft South this summer, has brought to us some of the kindest, most talented, funniest, most diverse and interesting group of women & kids from all around the world who have had such a devoted enthusiasm for their craft of choice. Garments. Patchwork. Embroidery. Machine skills. Hand skills. What they all seem to have had in common more than anything is the desire to share and the desire to learn. Two things that I myself possess and work on every single day. In other words, I have somehow managed to bring kindred spirits to my home and create a place and a frame of mind where we are all bettering ourselves in a way that makes sense to us. That is me up there introducing the most recent group of weekend workshoppers to our shop in progress. I am a pretty lucky lady. Even luckier that I have been able to connect these ladies with amazing designers & friends like Amy Butler, Liesl Gibson, Natalie Chanin and, in just a couple of weeks, Heather Ross. I am thrilled that we will have a place to continue connecting crafters with those that inspire them and keep an open door policy with our neighbors who want to share, shop and learn.
If you have ever read my about page, you might have noticed a note buried in there about how I got started in my career. I got started with my mom. We had a shop called The Handmaiden in Knoxville that formalized the trade that I had developed in college of earning extra money making and selling dresses to local shops. We decided to have our own shop and make lots more dresses right there in front of everyone. We also sold the wares and designs of about 40 different local artists, so I got to know independent designers (in the days before Etsy) and their hopes and struggles at the tender age of 23. Mom had just retired from nursing. Juliana was 3. Jeff was still in school. We set up sewing shop at the back of the space, I designed the clothes, we both sewed them, and we barely made enough money to cover rent some months but I have barely ever had more fun as I did those three years with my mother. Playing store, talking to customers, figuring out how to be a mother, wife and business owner all at once, but all with the help and care of my devoted mother. My biggest fan, my most earnest supporter. My partner. The running of the business and all of the challenges we faced soon overwhelmed my ability to devote myself to designing. When the designing suffered, I chose to rather run the clothing line out of my home for a few more years wholesaling around the Southeast. My mother had this unbelievable knack for being able to chalk up the entire experience as one where we learned a lot and that it was a total and complete success, simply because it headed me where I was going. She was so proud of me and continued to support every move I made in business and life until her last moments. We had prayerfully dedicated our shop to the Virgin Mary, as she is referred to in some scripture as the handmaiden, and my mother was always so thrilled that we happen to sign the lease for that (incredibly overpriced) building on August 15th. It is on this day that the Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates the Virgin, and all those named Mary, which my mother was, and therefore celebrate August 15th as their "nameday". I likely would have forgotten that signing date had it not been for my mother so continually bringing it up over the years, and what a blessing it was to our experience. That was her. Always a good reason for everything. There was a glimmer on every bit of life if you looked hard enough, even those that I might have labeled as failures. She saw glimmers.
This new life I have- the one where she is not here, I am still figuring it out. When good things happen these days, particularly the ones that I don't expect.... the glimmer feels like her. It feels like she is arranging things for me. True or not, it is a comfort. And this new place. This (incredibly overpriced) building - I have been working continually to be the tenant there since February. It was a long and complicated and imperfect process that was filled with doubt, frustrations and high hopes and a huge investment of time beyond my everyday responsibilities. The process took so much longer than anticipated. We were set to sign in mid July. Things got sticky with negotiations and it moved to early August. Then we were set to sign on August 11th. The lawyers were out of town so the date moved to August 15th. And that is the day that this venture started. On mom's nameday. Again. This time, 19 years later, it was our little Mary Anna's nameday too, and we celebrated her.
Just the day before we signed the lease I taught the kid's hoola hoop weaving class and a very sweet woman brought her daughter to take my class. Before class got started I had a nice chat with the mom about craft, Nashville, parenting, school and how the city is growing. Later that night once settled in with my laptop, husband and a movie I got an email from that mom. She said it was not until after she had been in class with me and her daughter that she realized that I am the same lady that had a shop in Knoxville where she used to spend some time between classes while at UT. She said she remembers that I owned it with my mom who was such a sweet lady with whom she enjoyed speaking. I simply replied that hearing that gave me a lot of joy and what a small world.
We are beginning this adventure with a million little glimmers. Some of them hard work, some of them prayers, some of them art, some of them stitches and some of them are you. Thank you so much for any bit of help, encouragement, purchases, notes or thoughts you have lent to my process as a designer over the years. They have all brought me to a place- a physical one that I will gladly walk into and I hope to see you there.
with thanks, xoxoxoAnnaMaria
ps. keep an eye on the Craft South instagram feed for updates as we have them and the Craft South blog.
Labels: celebrations, craft south, embroidery, fabric, family, janome, knitting, nashville, ramblings, sewing
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congratulations! feeling very fortunate to have this (and you!) in my hometown. i look forward to seeing what's in store.ReplyDelete
I have goosebumps! This project and the whole trajectory of what you have done, what you are doing and what you will still do, is being guided by a divine hand. I am so excited for you! Congrats, friend! xo.ReplyDelete
I couldn't be more thrilled for you. Enjoy the blessings. They are never an accident!ReplyDelete
wow, I´m happy to read that post. My mom, who is a tailor, gave me some of my sewing skills without both of us even noticing. When I was a kid she was sewing ( always). She made all the clothes we used to wear back then. Then, until I was about 25 years old I wasn´t interested in sewing at all. When I moved out from home, for some reason I thought there must be a sewing machine to complete my own household. Even then I didn´t think I would like sewing very much ( I prefered knitting). Many years later again ( my interest in sewing started to awake) I remembered many sewing tasks I kwew from my mom that were her daily bussines when I was a child. Nowadays she is not sewing as much anymore, but I do! She likes to get bags made by me and is a great supporter and most honest critic of what I do.ReplyDelete
To visit your shop seems impossible to me, unfortunately you live at the other end of the world.
Wow! what a fantastic story, I'm so excited for the whole thing to unfold and truly hope to find myself at Craft South in Nashville sometimes soon. Congrats!! Lots of glimmers coming your way from over here in New Jersey.ReplyDelete
I read this with so much joy. I am beyond thrilled to have even a tiny part in the Craft South story and I look forward to being a frequent visitor in its new home.ReplyDelete
So exciting! I so understand about the real estate pricing in Nashville, we were looking into moving back to that area and there was a bit of sticker shock with some of the places we wanted. Hopefully everything is a great success!!ReplyDelete
so beautiful. so thrilling. soo so happy for this new adventure for you.. and with your mama looking down lovingly.. xoxoxReplyDelete
Oh good gracious AM, I just LOVE this! What a story. This place will be AMAZING! XOXOReplyDelete
You Mom would be so very proud!ReplyDelete
One of her online quilter friends.
Congratulations! I remember Handmaiden! I grew up in knoxville and my mother and I loved to visit your store. I never knew that was you and your mother. Very special. My mom passed jn 2011 from cancer and I grieved for you and your family in your mothers passing. Congrats again, I wish you lots of luck and success in the new space!ReplyDelete
Such a lovely post. Good luck to you on your new venture (adventure!)!ReplyDelete
What a lovely and heart warming post. I have been an admirer of yours from a far, Sydney actually and it was 2 days ago I met the lovely Rebekka Seale as she is staying with us for the slow living workshop she is part of and as we talked about her home, Nashville, it rang a bell and I said I love seeing what the beautiful and talented Anna Maria Horner gets up on her blog and instagram and she said she knew you and told me about Craft South. I was very excited to show her my quilt proudly hanging made in your pink velvet fabric and we both laughed that how could this be that use is looking at a quilt made by me in Sydney with fabric designed by her friend in Nashville. What a small world the internet has made our global creative community. I wish you well with your bricks and mortar shop, one I would love to visit if one day I get to Nashville. Imby xReplyDelete
What a lovely, lovely post. Thank you for sharing. May the blessings continue as Craft South develops and grows. Cat xReplyDelete
Congratulations Anna Maria, I wish you all the best. I am one of your admirers from Athens, Greece, I love your fabrics and designs and also your daughter is a great artist!ReplyDelete
Best of luck...I can't wait to see it flourish. Your mom sounded like such a special lady.ReplyDelete
This is so beautifully written! I'm so thrilled for you and excited to know that a very cool place is just a road trip away from Louisville!ReplyDelete
I love your name - Snickerdoodle Stew - it gave me the biggest smile this morning. Thank you!Delete
What a great journey you've been on. Cannot wait to see what you do with that space. Congratulations!ReplyDelete
What a thrill, and to get to see it in person was even better. You know from your old shopkeeper days how much fun your customers can be. (My customers are the HUGE thing I miss from my old shop.) I think in this new phase they will be even more inspirational. I'm looking forward to many more road trips to Nashville! I hope you plan on having live music at least once a month.ReplyDelete
I loved reading about this and how the Mother of God has been so near to you! Glory to God!ReplyDelete
Congratulations!! that post brought tears to my eyes. I had no idea how you started!! Best wishes for continued success!!ReplyDelete
What an amazing road to your dreams, you are an inspiration! Enjoy the process.ReplyDelete
I loved this! The Blessed Mother is always pulling everything together for us!ReplyDelete
How exciting, Congrats! What a great post and the glimmers are real there are no coincidences in this life you are where you are meant to be....enjoy the journey.ReplyDelete
Oh, this is all just too wonderful. Thank you for sharing your love and life with us all. Now I must visit Nashville someday!ReplyDelete
This is the first time I've read your blog, although I am a long time fan of your work and a follower elsewhere. What a beautuful post. You inspire me to follow my dreams, to stick with my goals no matter how hard life can be sometimes and how difficult the road seems to get there. Nursing is my day job and one I'm proud to work to care for our city's children but it's not my calling. I've just got to keep working on my craft to really get where I want to be. You are so lucky to have had such a supporter in your mother, and what a beautiful peace to always carry her with you. :)ReplyDelete
Now I really need to make a trip to Nashville! I am so excited and thrilled for all of you on your new venture. I envy that you do what I can only dream of doing!!ReplyDelete
What a wonderful story about your beginnings. Best of luck with your new shop. I'm sure your mom can't wait! She will be there with you.....in a million glimmers.ReplyDelete
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oh, i miss nashville and knoxville! i loved to go into the handmaiden back in my college days and i know i'll love visiting craft south! i always thought it was so special that you and your mom had that shop together. hopefully i can time our visit so i can take a class or/and my 6 year old daughter can too.ReplyDelete
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