Friday, January 16, 2009


Ok, as promised, I have a list of books on creativity that have had a lot of influence on my creative life. None of them are about weaving per say, many are by writers. I have always found it pretty easy to just substitute “weaver” for “writer”, or just think “artist”. The first book on my creativity reading list has to be The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. This was a very important book in my life and is a big part of why I became a weaver at age 35. I had graduated from college with a BA in apparel design at age 30. As I tend to live in jeans and a t-shirt and really don’t enjoy sewing all that much, getting a degree in apparel design is a bit ironic ...and another story. After graduating, I was working as a para-educator and not too happy about it when I picked up this book. This would be somewhere in the mid 1990’s.
This is a book you both read and do. Actually, many of the creativity books have this aspect. I actually did everything in The Artist’s Way from the Morning Pages to the Artist Dates. I read and wrote for the total prescribed length of the program outlined in the book. I still do morning pages when I need to refocus or work something out.
So, what happened? I realized several things, one of which was that I wanted to be a weaver. I jumped into weaving and playing the cello at the same time and haven’t looked back since. Playing the cello was another dream I had even though I had never so much as touched a cello before. Come to think of it, I never had woven anything before either!
This was a very powerful book for me and I highly recommend it. I actually have three or four books written by Julia Cameron.
Another powerful book is The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp. This book is a guide to the sometimes difficult, everyday work of creativity. The first sentence on the back of the book jacket sums it up pretty well;
“Being creative is not a once-in-a-while sort of thing. Being creative is an everyday thing, a job with its own routines.”
The next book is another favorite of mine that was brought to my attention by Mary Zicafoose. Anyone who has attended a workshop or program given by her will recognize the title. It is The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. This is an easy book to read as you can read for five minutes a day and put it down until the next day due to the way it is written. I read and re-read this book constantly.
That reminds me, I own copies of all of these books. I usually start at the library, check a book out, and then if it is worthy, I buy it. I could never afford to buy all the books I read. I read, and re-read, a lot!
More books to take a look at: Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland, Creating a Life Worth Living by Carol Lloyd, Art as a Way of Life by Anne O’Shaughnessy and Roderick MacIver.
I also like to read about the science of the mind behind creativity. One such book is Cracking Creativity: the Secrets of Creative Genius by Michael Michalko.
I have just finished a book by Daniel H. Pink called A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age. Pink discusses in an easy to read and amusing format how right-brained thinking (creativity) will be playing a huge part in the way we live and work in the near future and how to cultivate the right side of the brain.
I also highly recommend any book by SARK. Her latest book, Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper is particularly good. One of the things I love about a SARK book is the colorful and creative way they are written.
These books are just the tip of the iceberg. I could go on listing books for quite a while! These books all have meaning for me but may not always have meaning for others. Take a look at them. If you are just starting out reading about creativity, start with The Artist’s Way or The War of Art.
I will compile the books into a book list on a side-bar on the blog. If you have read a good book on creativity that I haven’t mentioned yet, please leave the title and author in the comments section. One can never ready too many books.
My next post will be about a warped Jane, er that is, the first warp on my new Jane loom.
Almost there (hit a few snags, details later) so it will be soon!
Hmm, I think I will take an artist date next week. -Renee


Christopher Willard said...

Great to see someone else reading these. Check out Osborne's theory of creativity at this site too:


Peg in South Carolina said...

Thank you for this list. I was very glad to see your extended comments on Cameron, after my rather negative post--now there is a good balance. And, as you may know, I adore Twyla Tharp! Do you subscribe to Robert Genn's The Painter's Keys?

Renee said...

Thanks Chris and Peg for you input and links. I will check them out.
Peg, I was most interested in your post on The Artist Way. It is fascinating how people can have such varied reactions and perspectives.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for mentioning my book "Cracking Creativity." I greatly appreciate your kind attention and thoughtfulness.
Best wishes,
Michael Michalko