Anita grew up in Anacortes, Washington. Her father emigrated from Italy and her mother’s parents came from Yugoslavia. Her parents established a successful grocery store, where Anita and her two siblings worked. Her father served as a State Senator and after retirement, was a well-known totem pole artist. Anita was fascinated with the arts but studied sociology with a minor in political science so that she would have an employable skill. She did not know for years that there were other choices!
Anita married Jack Mayer and the couple settled in Anacortes. Anita was introduced to weaving by her mother-in-law and received a floor weaving loom as a wedding gift. Little did she know where that gift would take her.
Soon thereafter, being the mother of three small children, she wove during nap time and late at night. She began by selling her work to friends and showing at small local galleries. The money she earned went back into buying more supplies. From the start, Anita considered weaving her profession, never her hobby.
In 1972 she attended the first national weaver’s meeting, Convergence. During the conference she excitedly wrote in her notebook, “June, 1972…from this day forward, any major piece of clothing I wear, I will weave.” She began to teach classes and focused on raising her family and developing clothing for her own wardrobe. By 1977, she was teaching 12 workshops and additional sessions at national meetings and regional conferences. She also began to travel.
The clothing designed and worn by Anita is inspired by ethnic garments and simple shapes.
With over 50 years of creative experience, formal study, and extensive travel, Anita’s garments feature her signature color work and rich hand embroidery, beading, printing, and couched cord embellishments. Anita believes there should be something magical and unique about what is worn each day and wants to share this concept with others.
Anita’s work has been included in national and international shows and she presents lectures and workshops throughout the United States and Canada. She has published three books, three monographs, and is a frequent contributor to national magazines.