If you're like me, you're drawn to the host of creativity and craft books on the market. And they seem to get more beautiful and enticing every day! The pictures, the graphics, the beautiful stock they're printed on. They are SO hard to resist, and so inspirational.
Here are a few favorite books that have stoked my fire and that I hold dear to my heart:
The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women: A Portable Mentor
The Power of Positive Choices
Gail McMeekin (www.creativesuccess.com)
Two of my favorite books by a creativity and career coach and therapist. The former is filled with fabulous nuggets of advice and wisdom from women who have pursued creative paths in all walks of life, as well as exercises to help you awaken your own creativity. The latter addresses how to make your life better by subtracting negative aspects and adding positive choices.
Visual Journaling: Going Deeper Than Words
Barbara Ganim and Susan Fox
A fabulous workbook that contains the wisdom of expressive art therapists and teaches you how to use journal drawings to access your internal thoughts and feelings and release stress. It contains a 6-week program you can follow on your own or in a group.
Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking
David Bayles and Ted Orland
An inspiring book about what making art is all about—the way it gets made, the fears that keep it from getting made, and some of our pervasive cultural assumptions about artists (like being born with talent is the only route to good art).
Creative Healing: How to Heal Yourself By Tapping Your Hidden Creativity
Michael Samuels, M.D., and Mary Rockwood Lane, R.N., M.S.N.
A medically based book on the healing powers of the arts that teaches you how to find your “inner artist-healer.” It describes the history of art and healing, covers techniques for using art, writing, dance and music to heal yourself, as well as how professional artists use art to heal themselves and others.
The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity
The bible on creativity by the guru of creativity. Julia Cameron’s fabulous book teaches you how to get past creative blockages (and she thinks we’re all blocked to one extent or another). The book contains a 12-week self-motivated program in discovering and recovering your creative self, as well as suggestions for starting an “Artist’s Way” group.
Self-Nurture: Learning to Care for Yourself as Effectively as You Care for Everyone Else
Alice Domar, Ph.D. and Henry Dreher
This book, by a psychologist who is director of the Mind/Body Center for Women’s Health at the Mind/Body Medical Institute established by Harvard’s Dr. Herbert Benson, focuses on reducing stress and reconstructing your life so you care for yourself better. There’s a great section on bringing play and creativity into your life.
The Tao of Watercolor: A Revolutionary Approach to the Practice of Painting; The Zen of Creative Painting: An Elegant Design for Revealing Your Muse; The Yoga of Drawing: Uniting Body, Mind and Spirit in the Art of Drawing and Making Pearls: The True Nature of Creative Life
If you think you can’t draw or paint, try one of these books. Jeanne has come up with some unique techniques for accessing your natural artistic style—instead of fighting it in an effort to make your art conform to traditional standards—using the mind-body principles of Zen and the Tao.
Art and Healing: Using Expressive Art to Heal Your Body, Mind, and Spirit
A truly unique book that gathers much of the scientific work done on the healing power of expressive art therapy and explains it to the layperson. The book describes the ways in which creating art can produce emotional and physical benefits for those involved in the process and those who view it. It teaches readers how to express negative, painful and repressed emotions and deal with serious illnesses through art therapy techniques, exercises and visualizations.
The Knitting Sutra: Craft As a Spiritual Practice
Susan Gordon Lydon
This charming book of essays likens knitting to meditation, and describes it as one key to spiritual enlightenment.
Stretching Lessons: The Daring That Starts from Within
A lovely little book about the author’s quest to grow her soul beyond her self-imposed limits…to stretch and become “bigger than.”
No More Secondhand Art: Awakening the Artist Within
An interesting, somewhat academic, book on finding the originality and artist within you.
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
A now-classic volume that uses split-brain research to show even the most logical among us how to tap into our drawing ability by accessing the right side of the brain.
What are your favorites?