Sometimes I hit a lull, creatively speaking, where my ideas feel a little stale. This is usually after I've been working hard on a big project and need a rest to reboot. Its not always a creative block; sometimes it more of a "what's next?" feeling of being at loose ends.
One antidote to the blahs is to read a couple of craft books looking for new ideas to play with. I prefer books to Pinterest for this exercise because its too easy to get lost pinning pretty projects to my DIY board and not make anything. A book usually has technique photos or directions with tools, patterns and project variations listed so its easy to get started.
Digging into an author's well-thought out project allows me to let go of expectations and is a wonderful tonic after working hard by myself. Here are some of my favorite books for sparking new ideas:
Kleon's book Show Your Work is a manifesto on getting known as a working artist. He advocates sharing your work online, from your starting point and messy mistakes to successful soutions and finished works. In committing to making your work public, you give yourself a reason to produce something daily. Practice really does make perfect. Read more about this book here.
Krysa's book Creative Block is full of creative exercises by well known contemporary artists. Danielle queried the artists about their art practice and asked what they do when they face a creative block. Working through two or three of these exercises is sure to limber up your creative muscles. Danielle is also doing a monthly challenge on her website, The Jealous Curator, that anyone can join in and share their work.
Birch's book Freehand is another book full of inspiring tips and tricks drawn from contemporary artists. Birch analyzes the work of over 100 illustrative artists and categorizes them by the art techniques used by each one. You can choose a material or technique and see how several artists deploy them in innovative ways.
Brown's The Making of a Rag Doll is a beautiful showcase of her dolls and brand. The doll and clothing patterns are fun to make and serve as elegant sparks for my own toy making.
Trench's A Passion for Quilting contains a colorful array of projects big and small that are sure to entice you to start sewing. The projects encompass all skill levels with yummy photos that make you want to dive right in.
1. The Little Spark by Carrie Bloomston
Bloomston's book has 30 exercises designed to spark creative play. Do the exercises daily or set them up as a weekend practice to keep your creativity supple. You can start anywhere in the book and she encourages you to choose whatever strikes your fancy and do that first.
My creative bookshelf is food for my imagination, ingredients I can play with until they meld together into a feast of color and form. They nourish me, refresh my imagination and reboot my creativity when needed.
Do you keep creative books close at hand? Which ones are your favorites?