Inspiration (7)

(Titles are listed A-Z by author. Check side bar for links to book reviews covering different stitch techniques.  Please feel free to add comments – especially if you disagree with me!)

THE LIBERATED CANVAS by PENNY CORNELL


LIVING THE CREATIVE LIFE: Ideas and Inspirations from Working Artists by RICE FREEMAN-ZACHARY

If you are into altered art and mixed-media, you will love the format, layout, presentation & concept of this book.  Looking at what creativity is, and what it means to be creative, the author has pulled together insights from a range of artists and crafters already ‘living the creative life’, to inspire others to follow suit.

Problem is, we all find inspiration in different places, and this all smacked a bit too much of pop. psychology for me.  The emphasis seems to be on building the reader’s confidence so that they can pursue the ‘creative life’ unhindered.  Exercises are included throughout to unleash bursts of latent creativity; unfortunately, very few of these suggested anything that I have any interest in considering in any depth.

If you are likely to be inspired by reading about other artists’ creative tendencies, you will probably like this book.  Despite the journal-style format, I found it a bit same-y, and (sorry) a bit American.  I recommend ‘Kaleidoscope’ by Suzanne Simanaitis as far more readable (to me), and far more likely to encourage creative exploration.

CREATING SKETCHBOOKS FOR EMBROIDERERS AND TEXTILE ARTISTS: Exploring the Embroiderer’s Sketchbook by KAY GREENLEES

EMBROIDERY IDEAS FROM BLACKWORK by PAT LANGFORD

EXPLORING CROSS STITCH: A NOTEBOOK by AUDREY ORMROD

CRAFTING CREATIVITY: 52 Brilliant Ideas for Awakening the Artistic Genius Within by COLIN SALTER
Now, I’m not one for pep talks and pop psychology, but this is something different altogether: it’s absolutely packed with inspiring ideas and suggestions that will help you springboard in new directions.  If you ever suffer from creative block, or if you just want a little nudge in the right direction to discover your hidden creativity, this is the book for you.  I’m sure you could even dapt some of the ideas for working with kids (but that’s not my forte!).

This is one of those great books that you can either dip into at random or read from cover to cover. Unfortunately, I’m afraid to open my copy of this book, because the ideas just won’t stop…!

KALEIDOSCOPE: Ideas and Projects to Spark Your Creativity by SUZANNE SIMANAITIS

I love this book. The editor self-publishes an art ‘zine’, and the contributors are all regular contributors to similar zines, so it is not surprising that this book reads like a magazine, great to dip into a little at a time. Oh yes, the layout follows the art-zine format, too, so it’s a bit quirky, a bit different; don’t expect just a plain old book full of text! The book is split into broad headings which the contributors interpret as suits them. Some sections are pure editorial, some include projects, some are framed purely as creativity workshops, some include a little bit of everything. There are also lots of practical tips, and suggestions to help develop your own style. The style of writing and content is different within each piece, which makes it impossible to get bored. If you don’t like the style of one writer, you can just skip to the next; you’ll also find there are occasional contradictions in approach, which just emphasises the fact that in the creative world, pretty much anything goes. I had to have a notebook to hand all the while I read this book; I also had to take frequent breaks, because there were so many great ideas, I needed time to absorb them thoroughly before moving on. There were sections that didn’t quite hit the mark (with me, but may do for others; that’s the point) but there were others that made me see things differently, and want to try things that were completely new to me. This book has everything I had hoped for (but felt was missing) from ‘Living the Creative Life’ by Rice Freeman-Zachary. Apart from the occasional lapse, I didn’t feel as though this was a book of irrelevant exercises, and I didn’t feel as though the writers were talking down to me through a cloud of pop. psychology. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.  I know I will dip in time and again, and come out with something different every time. Fantastic!

Links to some more books that I haven’t read yet, but look quite cool:

STITCH MAGIC: Ideas and Inspiration by JAN BEANEY


NATURAL ART FORMS by KARL BLOSSFELDT


PATTERNS OF THE EARTH by BERNHARD EDMAIER


COLORFUL WORLD by AMANDINE GUISEZ GALLIENNE


ART FORMS IN NATURE by ERNST HAECKEL

THE CONSTANCE HOWARD BOOK OF STITCHES


LEAVES AND PODS by JOSIE ISELIN


INSPIRED TO STITCH: 21 Textile Artists by DIANA SPRINGALL

THE ART OF EMBROIDERY: Inspirational Stitches, Textures and Surfaces by FRANCOISE TELLIER-LOUMAGNE


THE ART OF FELT: Inspirational Stitches, Textures and Surfaces by FRANCOISE TELLIER-LOUMAGNE

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